5th Sunday and we are not the only church to participate in this. What we did was trade our regular time of worship with service to our local community. This was our first experience with this but it was exciting and God showed up. When I asked a few people about their experience following the service time my questions were met with excitement and anticipation for the next 5th Sunday. Some people were already giving me possible ideas for the next time we take the church outside to four walls of our building.I apologize, I know this post is long overdue. My life currently seems to have entered a busy season and I have not had the time to blog as I would like to. Two Sundays ago our church family gathered for a different type of "worship service." We called it
One of the projects was picking up litter on a local stretch of road very close to our church building. This project was the one that I thought would have the least impact on our community, but I was mistaken. AS the clean up crew moved along the nearly 2 mile stretch of road there were numerous opportunities for conversations with unchurched people. We had a few homeowners come out an ask us what we were doing and why we were doing it. It was very exciting to see "ordinary missionaries" connecting with those in the local community and simply practicing a ministry of presence in the community. I think it is important to let the community know that we are here and that we care. To pick up trash is a practical demonstration of this care. Picking up trash not only helps the environment but it also benefits our fellow humanity. I pray that some seeds were planted in these conversations and that God will cause some growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Another group went to the local nursing home to sing with them and visit with the residence. One particular story that came out of this group involved an elderly Jewish man at the home. One member of this group happened to be raised in a Jewish milieu and upon entering the nursing home he noticed an elderly man sitting alone outside the building. Apparently he noticed some sort of Jewish symbol or custom associated with this elderly gentleman that tipped him off that he was morning the loss of his wife. The gentleman from the group sat with him and never made it inside. He spent nearly two hours talking to this man, sharing his faith, sharing and being Jesus to this man who was in mourning. Apparently the conversation went very well and they made it a point to set up another time to visit, apart from the planned group visit. I pray that God will guide this relationship.
We had over 60 people commit to serve their neighbor on this particular Sunday. For some of them it was not to much of a stretch to change the style of "worship" for the day. But for some others it was very different and somewhat difficult. But I am proud of my church family. Here's one example. An elderly woman in our church, who is used to a more traditional approach, came up to me before we prayed together and went out to serve and she made it a point to tell me how different this was to her. However, she was willing to go and give it a try. The simple fact that she was there was huge. I love to see people of God stretching themselves. When we do that we find that we grow in our faith and Christ-likeness. When we give in to tradition and fear we find that we become stagnant and nothing changes.
The next 5th Sunday is in July and we are planning more service projects for that day. I'm looking forward to see and hear about God acting in and through our local community. What about you? Would you and your church family consider joining in with 5th Sunday?