Thinking Out Loud

May 23, 2016

Engaging With the Community

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:12 am

Imagine being in a church that is just getting by financially and it’s your job to tell the chair of the finance committee that there’s going to be one less offering this year because there’s going to be one less church service. Daunting?

That’s what my church did five years ago, for the purpose of joining in with an annual Multiple Sclerosis fundraising walkathon. Looking back on what I wrote about this then, apparently they did open the doors, but by far the vast majority of the congregation weren’t there.

It’s certainly better than shutting down worship services just because it’s a long weekend and the weather might be nice. Once again this year, North Point will follow this tactic in order to give volunteers the weekend off. Fortunately for people wanting to connect with fellowship and teaching on a weekly basis, this does not appear to be a growing trend. Six different Google and Yahoo searches revealed info about a church in Alaska, and little else.

If you’re going to do this, it’s good to do it for a good reason and not just to head out to the lake and put your feet up. Furthermore, I’m betting many of the North Point people either (a) don’t fit the perfect “husband, wife, 2.4 kids, minivan” model and possibly find the prospect of spending the day alone not particularly attractive, or (b) pack up the minivan and go visit another church.

The local branch of the national charity that became the benefit of the outpouring of love from my church was thrilled of course, though it was disappointing the following year when I’m sure their fundraising totals flagged somewhat. Still, the same church has also been part of multi-church efforts for Habitat for Humanity and Syrian refugee sponsorship. In the case of Habitat, people not only gave money but hundreds (if not thousands) of volunteer hours.

This is the church doing good. This is what it looks like when we break the stereotype of being insular or self-absorbed. At the time I wrote,

“Skipping Church” is a big sacrifice for those who grew up believing the place to be on Sunday morning is singing the hymns and listening to a sermon.

Instead, this congregation will be busy “being church.”

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