The purpose of The Stickleback, ultimately, is to try and encourage Christians who find themselves feeling like small fish in a big pond. I mean, how do we really honour God when we’re so messed up? How do we actually make a difference when the task is so astronomically big? The answer is disarmingly simple, but completely life changing. We’re not doing it in our own strength. Immanuel. God with us.
This page, then, is a collection of ideas, of simple ways that – in God’s strength alone – we can live as Jesus would in a world that desperately needs him. They’re just suggestions (and a lot of them specific to Glasgow Uni I’m afraid), but hopefully they’ll kick start you into thinking of your own ways to live as what Shane Claiborne calls an ‘ordinary radical’ (a number of these points are lifted off of his ‘50 ways…‘ list, which I’d strongly recommend you take a look at. Very challenging!).
So, with no further ado, let’s take a look at the list. Every single one of these points can be summed up in Jesus words: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s all about love.
- Ask your Pastor/Minister/Elders if there’s anyone in the congregation who is house-bound or hospitalised. Visit and chat to them each week.
- The next time someone asks you for money, invite them to grab some food with you. If you can’t do that, maybe buy them some groceries from the nearest shop.
- Get to know someone from Christian Union who you haven’t really spoken to before and meet up with them regularly to pray for each other.
- Get involved with the international student work and make a real effort to become good friends with a few of them. Contact Laura McDonnell for more information.
- Volunteer at a a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. If you’re in Glasgow, check out Glasgow City Mission or LHM.
- Sit with someone different in your lectures. Step outside of your own friendship group and commit to sharing your life with someone you wouldn’t normally.
- Sign up to the World Community Grid. Let scientists borrow your computer’s spare power to process life changing humanitarian research (see this post).
- Go for a week on just one bowl of rice, praying for the people around the world who are forced to live like that. Give the money you saved to a charity fighting global hunger.
- Help out at the GU/QM Stalls. Buy someone a taxi ride home if they look like they need it.
- Go for the next year only buying used clothes, and donate some of the clothes that you already have to charity shops
- Research the ethical policies of your favourite brands/stores, and write to them to affirm or critique their company.
- Get to know your neighbours. Invite them round for a cup of tea or a meal, and really start to build up a relationship.
- Send a letter of encouragement to someone in your congregation who you know is hurting. Pray for them every day.
- Show some care for creation and start recycling. Find the nearest recycling station and get sorting your rubbish!
- Try making your own clothes. If you can sew or knit, sell some stuff on and give the money straight to charities working to improve factory conditions in the developing world.
- Give your winter coat away to someone who is colder than you and go buy another one from a charity shop.
- Invite older people from your congregation to dinner at your flat, instead of doing the student thing and waiting for an invite yourself!
- Become a pen-pal with someone in prison.
- Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Then, each time you eat that food, pray for the people who helped make it possible for you to eat it.
- If it snows this winter, clear the pathways of people on your street. For bonus points clear the pavement too.
- Get to know someone who’s begging in the street. Ask them what stuff they need and buy it for them. Go round to their house, get to know their family and their story, and put them in contact with the sort of people who can help.
- Become part of the welcoming team at church. Make an effort to remember people you don’t know, and have a conversation with them after the service.
- When you say ‘I’ll be praying for you’, actually do it. If you’re anything like me this can be quite a struggle.
- Look into the work of CAP or the Trussel Trust and get involved in any way you can. Learn more about them in this post.
- Go to an elderly home and get a list of the people who don’t get any visitors. Visit them each week and tell stories, read the bible together, or play board games.