The name of the ministry is self-descriptive. Jesus Christ works in the hearts of people so they do good works that stem from faith in Him. So as much as we are able, we are involved in practical and spiritual helps for others – especially disadvantaged people. Part of our function is encouraging other believers to do the same things and assisting other ministries that have similar purposes. We either perform the helps or encourage and assist other believers in their helps to others. Unlike many ministries, this one is home-based, so what we do is an extension of home. There are a few volunteers who help our volunteer effort, but there is no paid staff, no separate office, and no career path. We devote most of our time to providing training or providing courses to others. We generally do not provide financial assistance unless we have a long-standing relationship with a group. If the organization ceased to exist tomorrow, we would be doing nearly the same things. Having a ministry organization is helpful, however, because it facilitates many tasks and opens the way for other people to be involved in the works.
In largest terms the ministry’s aim is to build the Kingdom of God – the same Kingdom that Christ came to proclaim and exemplify. Any ministry activity is no more or less obedience to Christ, since he said that we should walk as he did. He was always mindful of heart issues but also the practical outworking of faith in his followers. By God’s grace we try not to separate heart issues from practical helps because both are almost always needed. So preaching and teaching are good. We do them. But this cannot be done without addressing practical needs of disadvantaged peoples. As needs arise in our sphere of influence, we presume that God wants us to consider how we might address them. Our emphasis has been to economically disadvantaged groups of people and parents or children with educational needs.
Since we are a small group of volunteers, we prayerfully make choices about where, when, and how to render assistance. We know we cannot address all the needs that we hear about. Our direction also changes as the needs change around us. In the end we want confidence that the Spirit of God has led us to address a particular set of needs. As you read our history and look at our active projects, you will see how needs have changed over time. In the end, the results we expect are the same: strengthening and encouraging others in Christ, which includes practical training as we are able to provide it.
CHRISTWORKS MINISTRIES was founded and continues to function because of the good news of Jesus Christ. We firmly believe that he is the solution to heart issues – who we are, how we know God, and how we can be changed to be like him. There is no apology for this biblical foundation. It is written into our constitution and by-laws. The Kingdom of God is meant to consist of people who have believed by faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – God’s answer to our sinful condition or situation. Practical works or the outworking of faith comes out of this foundation. Our helps take different forms and may assist believers or unbelievers, but the message is the same: God loves us, cares for our needs, and wants us to increasingly relate to him. Whether we help a farm in Uganda, assist a single mom in Virginia, provide a seminar in Haiti, provide food for the poor, or teach teachers how to teach children, the motivation is the same: help people know Christ and become like him. We have an excellent reference text, guidebook and manual (so to speak), which is the Bible. We consult it and use it regularly to help us and others. It also provides us an absolutely perfect guide with respect to conduct.
The Story – How We Began
Like most ministries, this one began very small. We (Roland and Linda Beard) were given to hospitality early in our marriage and Christian walk. Over time we developed a life style of helping others. Simple hospitality simply outgrew our home. Our home was relatively normal with respect to work since one of us worked full time until 2005. The professional job did not stop us from beginning a pattern of helps. During the first decade of marriage, people in need lived with us most of those years. By the end of the first decade we were distributing food to the poor, helping sister ministries, and helping our local church. No one ever paid us for doing these things. Why receive money for what we were supposed to be doing in obedience to Christ?
The Story – Our History
Changes in local church life and the extent of the food and education needs we were trying to address led to the formation of a non-profit organization in Crozet, Virginia, where the ministry is currently based. This base is not an office; it is our home. With the example of key older believers in other ministries, we began feeding the poor in a larger way and providing education assistance to a small group of churches and ministries in the piedmont region of central area of Virginia during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The education assistance began as a small church school; many of its students were poor. We found out early that ministry to disadvantaged people almost always puts you in contact with children with educational needs. We learned very early not to separate spiritual and practical needs.
By the early 1990s the distribution of food grew such that provisions were passed to 15-30 churches or ministries. The little church school changed to a Home School Support Group that assisted a number of parents and children (as many as 15 per normal school year). Helps extended to providing Vacation Bible Schools in the summer, special programs for children, and Bible studies. Our home remained the base of operations, although we used temporary facilities to receive and distribute food.
The food ministry decreased in 2000-2005 while the home school assistance to children and parents took the forefront. Overseas helps increased as we became involved in assisting another ministry that worked in Romanian orphanages. We sent provisions and made trips to Romania during this period.
In 2005-2006 the home schooling students decreased but needs born from Hurricane Katrina picked up other activities. For almost 6 months we were involved with gathering provisions and making trips to help the area affected by the hurricane. During this same period our helps (primarily sending key provisions in small boxes) to a Ugandan ministry began to increase. By the end of 2006 the distribution of food decreased to assistance to a few groups.
During the 2005-2006 our assistance was requested by a local Chinese church in Charlottesville, where we began children programs, English Bible studies, and English classes for believers and non-believers. Part of the assistance was in music as we taught praise songs to adults and children.
At the same time we also began observing the heavens from a Bible view as an outreach tool for unbelievers and an encouragement to believers. Using telescopes, binoculars, and later sketching what we observed, we began incorporating the night observing skills to encourage people to see what God had created and sustains. We firmly believe that God created the earth and universe; it is not an accidental occurrence or some sort of cosmic experiment. Observing the heavens has proven a valuable way for people to see the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-6) because His handiwork shows so much complexity, beauty, and detail. As the scriptures point out, they also can point a person to God (Romans 1:20).
Since both of us were “retired” from regular work as of the middle of 2005, time to devote to ministry helps increased. With the assistance to the local Chinese church, observing the heavens as an outreach tool, and the rise of helps to overseas projects, we were fully engaged. By 2007 home schooling students in our home ceased, although occasional education helps are extended to particular students or parents. The project work and helps to Uganda increased to the point where we made advance visits to a school and church in Nyamabuga Village in western Uganda and began planning to send a container of supplies and materials to assist our friends in that village.
In 2007-2008 we began development of a curriculum for observing the heavens (Astronomical Observing from a Biblical View) because of the lack of a practical curriculum of that type that could be used for disadvantaged groups – especially where there were no modern conveniences, power, or internet helps. We began assembling materials and equipment that could be used with the curriculum. Several companies gave us equipment that was important for the curriculum.
In late 2007 we joined with a sister ministry in Ohio that regularly visits a poverty stricken area of Haiti. We assisted the medical team visit sponsored by this ministry but also took materials to conduct a seminar at a Haitian church on observing the created heavens. We assembled and sent our first set of astronomical equipment along with the draft curriculum for a two day seminar. We trained approximately 80 people during the seminar, which was reported as a success and encouragement to those who attended.
2008-2009 was dominated by assisting a school and church in Nyamabuga Village in Western Uganda. 20010-2012 were dominated by practical training helps to the Institute of Foundational Learning in the Philippines.
2010-2014 was dominated by the Philippine project and our web presence. The needs led us to develop the creation study (downloadable without charge on this site). Response to our Inspirational Blogs convinced us to put more effort into our “web” presence and make the site an easier place to download course material we have developed.
The Story – Where We Are Going & A Personal Note from the Director
Why take the time to spell out a history and point to where we are going? It is because we believe that many Christians need to step forward and begin to labor for the gospel if they are willing. What little we have done was done from a home, with regular work schedules, through bouts of cancer and sickness, with limited funds, and using very limited facilities. My co-founder and wife, Linda Beard, was conducting ministry — even while she was hospitalized for the last time. Except for a few week around her death in August, project work did not stop because the needs and the open doors to address them continued. While she has gone to be with the Lord, my work and the work of other volunteers continue. The message is simple: we can live a fruitful life in Him and be a blessing at any stage of our lives. It only depends on a person’s willingness and God’s strength. With this in view, our projects continue. I encourage those of you who are fruitful to be more fruitful. If you are not fruitful, why not fan the flames of faith and become fruitful? The statement of Jesus regarding the “laborers are few” is still true, so we encourage believers to consider expanding His labor force. The Holy Spirit has good works for us to do (Matthew 5:16). If we are His sheep, then He will lead us to love others as h=He has loved us (Matthew 25:31-46).