Each Missional serves our formerly homeless neighbors, other missionals, themselves (self-care) and our sponsoring organization—Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
To achieve harmony as a Missional you will need to prayerfully search your feelings, motivations and the beliefs in the ‘deepest cave of your heart’ (a favorite phrase of MLF founder Alan Graham), and confirm for yourself that you fundamentally resonate on the same frequency as our cause. It starts with the basics.
MLF is a nonprofit, faith-based organization whose ideals and philosophy come directly from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. MLF bylaws govern the affairs of the organization and form the backbone of our Missional Discernment Process.
At the core of MLF are beliefs and guiding principles. These are living values that have stood the test of time, but as a discipline, are systematically revisited for possible amendments and fine tuning. More than just marketing mantras, these become rules for decision-making and action, even when no one is looking. It is a high bar, and clearly not for everyone.
At the white-hot center of these beliefs are the Vision, Mission, Values and Goals.
Vision: We empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.
Mission: We provide food and clothing, cultivate community, and promote dignity to our homeless brothers and sisters in need.
Core Values: The vision is supported by core values centered on our belief that homelessness is the result of a profound, catastrophic loss of family.
- God, infinitely perfect and blessed in Himself, in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in His own blessed life.
- By virtue of being created by God in His image, we are all called to live in community and relationship with Him through each other.
- The family is the original cell of social life.
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
- All members of the human family are equal in dignity.
- The Lord God took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it. – Genesis 2:15
Missional aspirants may feel inspired to serve as they reflect on these principals; it is a mature response to feel motivated by Jesus’ call to love “the least of these” (Mt 25:31-46). We are all in different places along our journey, however, and you may not feel such a tug right now. That’s okay. Being a Missional doesn’t mean you have your life together in all aspects, but it does mean you aspire to. A discerning Missional is honest, and willing to engage fully and humbly in the Missional Discernment Process.
Discerning Missionals show willingness to learn, to be open and to grow.
They understand our tongue-in-cheek slogan: Semper Gumby (Always Flexible), and are prepared to exhibit flexibility and a spirit of cooperation in their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and practices. Ultimately, a discerning Missional is willing to become the kind of person who can embody and live out MLF’s vision, mission, values and goals. Missional living is an authentic expression of these attributes. It is confirmed by a sense of energy and purpose that result in charitable actions such as the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
To what end? What are we hoping to achieve when we serve as Missionals?
Our goals are tied to our individual gifts and aligned with the goals of Mobile Loaves & Fishes:
- Transform the way people view the stereotype of those who find themselves homeless.
- Reconnect the homeless to self, family and community.
- Help the chronically homeless rediscover and utilize their God-given talents to do purposeful work.
- Connect human-to-human, heart-to-heart, through the fellowship of food and hospitality.
- Inspire people into a lifestyle of abundance by giving their best first.
Alan Graham offers a reflection on the painting by Caravaggio, “The Incredulity of Thomas.” (A depiction hangs in our sanctuary in Unity Hall.) In the painting, Jesus is lovingly guiding Thomas’ finger into the wound in His side (John 20:27), and Thomas is overwhelmed with humility and responds “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). When Alan unpacks his reflections on this painting, he shares that the wound represents the woundedness of the world—hatred, sickness, abuse, addiction, judgement, cruelty, homelessness. Jesus is inviting each of us into the ugliness of that wound, and when we say “Yes,” our souls are moved and also utter: “My Lord and my God.”