“Passing the Buck Passing 2buck” comes from the game of poker where a knife with a deer antler handle was used to “mark” the person responsible for dealing the cards.  On each hand, the dealer would “pass the buck” to the next dealer, passing the responsibility for dealing.

As the Body of Christ, do we “pass the buck” when it comes to some of our ministries?  Who typically does the hospital calls – our pastors?

Who should be responsible for ministry with people with intellectual disabilities? 

Our tax dollars can provide needed supports through secular service providers for housing, healthcare and even employment.  But who should bring the Good News of Jesus’ love?  Where will people with disabilities have opportunities to use the spiritual gifts God has given them?

Should this responsibility be passed on to an outside organization?  Maybe we can give them financial support!  But, would they understand our communities, regardless of where we live?  Do they have relationships with our congregations or the people with disabilities that live in our neighborhoods?  It is the local church that should have their finger on the pulse of how to reach their community.

In Acts, chapter 6, there is a description of how the early growing Church ministered with the widows of the Grecian Jews.  The widows had been overlooked in the distribution of food.  The apostles didn’t hope Rome would step in and feed these widows, they gathered the disciples and selected seven men who were full of the Spirit and wisdom (key words; full of the Spirit and wisdom).  These men were given the responsibility to care for the widows.  The buck stopped with them.

If we were properly equipped, could our churches minister to the spiritual needs of people with intellectual disabilities?  It’s not rocket science.  Would we nurture meaningful relationships with friends with disabilities and understand the needs of the families that live in our neighborhoods?  This is a ministry that can only be accomplished by a local church!

Many of us have experienced God’s pruning as the camp ministry where we participate was paused.  Regardless of the reasons; right or wrong, our friend’s with disabilities had their vacations canceled.  Pruning hurts, but careful pruning brings new growth, and we are seeing new growth in a ministry that God continues to bless.  Volunteers in Friendship classes have asked, “what can we do?”  We are encouraged that some of you have stepped up to engaging your congregations in new ways.  This is where the responsibility belongs.  These volunteers have decided not to “pass the buck.”

Several congregations, partnering with Connection Ministries, will host Summer Friendship Gatherings; a three evening retreat that will explore how we grow in faith and trust.   We began planning these events in December, and now believe we were being prepared for this time.  Other ideas being planned that can be considered; a picnic with a worship service, professional baseball game, a dance, or if you are involved in a Bible study, start your class in early August.   Each of these ideas will bring us together with our friends with disabilities.

We all want to belong to a Christian community that gathers during the summer! 

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