Every year in the fall our church encourages each member to join a Small Group in order to participate in whatever study they are doing that year. In the past they have done Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life and Better Together, Connecting in Christ Together and 5 Keys to the Better Life among others.
This year we are doing Faith in Action, along with 70 other churches in the DFW metroplex. We are studying from the Gospel of Luke to see how Christ served those around Him.
This is a 4-week church-wide campaign that will transform our congregation, impact our community and help our church touch the world.
Toward the end of our 4-weeks we are encouraged as a Small Group to select a service project in the community in which we can serve. The project our Small Group selected was to do landscaping at one of the elementary schools in our area. This elementary school is in an area where most of the students are from underprivileged homes. We were told that about 90% of the students were on free lunches.
Last Saturday the 23rd, our church and several others in the area joined together for the annual ShareFest where several thousand adults and children were treated to groceries, medical and dental care, shots for both children and adults and lunch. This year, for the first time, there was a bike repair tent. It was a huge hit with the children because they could take their broken bikes and have them repaired. The guys working the tent did things like fix chains and flat tires, tune ups, etc. From what I heard the children could hardly wait for their bikes to be repaired so that they could ride them.
Then on Sunday it was our turn.
We were told not to go to church - this was called the "faith in action" weekend. Almost everyone had orange tee shirts (they ran out so some of us didn't get one) that read "I skipped church today, so that I can BE the church" and went out into the community to BE the church. I arrived at the school around 9:00am and it looked like a swarm of ants working on the outside.
Men, women and children were sanding down the ironwork on the front of the school, then painting. I didn't go inside and get a picture but was told there were people doing painting and cleaning all around the inside of the school.
Our group was given a plot of ground around the flagpole to clean out. It had weeds and grass growing in it and looked awful.
The men were to turn over the ground (leaving the rose bushes) while the women would rake as much of the weeds and grass out as possible.
You know how men are, they have to stand around and talked about how to do it and where to start. But we did get them moving, eventually. By the way, the gentleman in the back with the darker blue shirt is from England and was here visiting his daughter and son-in-law, Roger and Sue. He was the hardest worker and worked rings around the younger men.
We got finished about noon and were exhausted. What a great feeling it was to be involved in this project and to know that we were able to help out in our community, to represent our church family . . . it was a really wonderful experience and I would do it again in a minute.