Monday, October 10, 2011

The Church has left the building...

What if we stopped talking about it and finally just got to doing it??

That was the question we answered as a church yesterday on our first ever "Be the Church" Sunday.

Yesterday, there were no church services in our building.  Rather 450 of us served at 18 projects around our city!  So cool, huh?

We were able to meet needs at a few food pantries, some thrift shops, some schools, a large rescue mission, a soup kitchen, the Salvation Army, a few retirement homes and some city parks.  We sorted, labeled, painted, prepared food, roofed, landscaped, picked up trash, listened, hugged, swept, and pulled up carpet in the name of Jesus.  We let people know in a tangible way that God sees them and loves them.

Last fall, our church had a white envelope project in which we gave money away.  Last Sunday we were handed white envelopes again, but this time they didn't contain cash--but rather a service assignment. We were to report to that assignment yesterday morning rather than coming to church.   Everyone was quite excited and embraced the idea.

Not everyone would have chosen the assignment they were given.  Some had passion for different areas. Some were in their element, some were out of their comfort zone.  We put all of that aside and just did it.

My family ready to go!  Aren't they cute?
Our family had a pretty comfortable assignment--we were assigned with 11 others to a local ARC thrift shop.  We shelved a lot of books, put many items out for sale, swept a lot of floors, cleaned, and straightened/hung a ton of clothes.  I think the most important thing we did was encourage the manager at our shop.  She couldn't say enough about how much work we saved her...and what a big help that was.  It was EASY, when working together, to make a big difference there...even if just in her heart.

Bubba returning book bins after we emptied them.

Dave doing his thing  (which means I'm not sure what he is doing right there...)

Pickle working in the accessories department--how appropriate!

I found something I should consider buying...heehee.
more of our group at another site.  they were doing the sweaty kind of work... :0)
We ended the day with a celebration service and dinner together as a church family.   Let me tell you, the energy was palpable.  We worked hard, were pretty tired--but absolutely energized by serving in Jesus' name.

I had several requests after the service (I'm on staff at church) that we do this every year, every quarter, even every month!  And maybe we will do it again one day.  But that wasn't the point, at least not from my perspective.  In my opinion, the point was that we all did it.  We all served.  We got to experience how relatively easy it is to give some time and energy, how big the need is, how big the impact is on hearts when they learn that God sees them.  We stopped talking about it and just did it.  We got to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and it felt good.  My hope is that this experience was a catalyst to much more service to our city by individuals, families, and life groups.  My hope is that our city is transformed by the love of Christ--and that we are all part of it.  Because, honestly, we are called to be.

Let me encourage you that you don't need your church to hold an event like this to get out into your community.  Pick an organization and call them--see what they need and if there is any way you could meet that need.  That's all there is to it.  Push aside the thoughts (I know them well) of finding the ideal setting to serve, your impossible family schedule, your concerns about your abilities.  Don't wait until your life calms down, or your kids get older, or move out,  or you feel ready.  Don't wait for some audible word from God--we already know what is close to His heart.  

This is my family's challenge now.  So now what?  How will we serve next?  It doesn't have to be perfect, we just need to do it.  If your family is serving your community...I'd love to hear about it!  And I'll let all you bloggies know what next step our family takes.


Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Love this serving together! And you crack me up with that book :)

DidiLyn said...

This white envelope idea sounds phenomonal! Our church does a school help day, where we weed, paint, build, clean, tear down....basically whatever needs doing. But this white envelope idea adds in so many more possibilities. Love it!

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