We are in the process of forming a Mexican non-profit to give our community center ministry here more legal recognition. It will also serve as a more appropriate vehicle for present and future property purchases. Often as Christian ministries we ignore the civil and social aspects of what we do, and do not take advantage of valid governmental and non-governmental relationships. Frankly, most local, state and federal governments should want to cooperate and, when appropriate, facilitate the community impact of the local church.
The government is sometimes viewed as more of a hindrance than a help, and certainly our loyalties as Christians are towards Jesus and his calling and commands. We can never compromise our message, or sell-out on our convictions. Nevertheless, government is an institution established by God, our God, and to think that we cannot find common ground is either ignorant or arrogant. Against the fruit of the Spirit there is no law. What government would ever oppose the offering of music lessons, homework clubs or free wheelchairs? What government would not want to promote activities to get their youth off the streets and more active in sports, dance or art? What government does not want to see their citizenry become more productive, more honest, less violent?
Without legal standing it is harder to present a credible case before municipal authorities. But having the formal standing of a non-profit, with a list of all members of the organization, and document detailing mission, vision and history and a colorful photo-log visually presenting eight years of active local outreach, well, suddenly politicians pay attention. Or they should anyway.
One day the whole world will be ours, and it a sense it already is. In the meantime, however, we’ll be patient, enduring hardships, realizing that the playing field is tilted against us for now. Injustice reins, for now. But even in the midst of this negative environment, people recognize and respond to goodness, to selflessness, to help without strings attached. Why? Because it is so scarce, so hard to find. Our good works condemn the world, our love makes us incomprehensible, intolerable, and tremendously appealing all at the same time.
So we’ll be moving full speed ahead with this. Oh yes we will.
Below, some of the graphic helps of ministries begun under the auspices of the community center. If you’ve been here you may have been a part of some of them.
(A big thanks to Samuel for this visual arts ministry!)