Saturday, July 15, 2006

What Is Your Church Doing To Serve Your Community?

I could ask the same question of my church and give the very same pathetic answer. Recently at the Purpose Driven Worship Conference, I attended a worskshop entitled "Drawing a Crowd to Worship." While I thought the workshop would be more about drawing people into His presence, it was more about simply getting people to come to church. (I know that the two can be the same in the end.)

The workshop leader was Dave Holden, pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. Their church grew from nearly 100 to over 800 - in a community of only 8,000! And he basically told us how - They served their community without expecting anything in return.

The church was celebrating it's 70th anniversary and instead of giving itself gifts and accolades, the church gave to the communuty. Each week for 7 weeks, the church gave away 70 gifts. The first week, it was 70 baseballs to the local little league. The next, they gave 70 brand new books to the city library. Another week, they donated, planted, and installed irrigation for 70 flats of flowers at the local Post Office. With 7 weeks of this the local newspaper caught intrest, and before long, everyone wanted to know what this church was all about - This church that gave without asking anything in return.

That is the key, I think - too often we do stuff for other people with an ulterior motive. We want them to come to church. We want them to know Christ. These are not bad things, but we need to realize that Jesus served people simply because He loved them.

Think about this. When is the last time you held a "Harvest Festival" without expecting kids to learn any verses, making them watch some kind of the Gospel message, or at the least, giving them a tract? Can't remember? Me either.

How about a Christmas event simply to provide entertainment for the community? How about a youth basketball tournament where we did not make the participants listen to a gospel presentation or come to a Bible study?

The point is that Jesus served people's needs. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and made the lame walk. He did it because He loved them and because they needed it, not because He wanted to convert them. (Although God's love is ultimately what draws us to Him.)

If we love people in our community, I think we need to start looking for ways to serve them unselfishly and out of Christ's love.

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...