Whose lives are different because of your church? I asked myself that question today, and I could think of dozens of individuals, families and organizations that have been touched by my church. It is so exciting to be a part of a church that is thinking about how to reach out and really make a difference in peoples lives. Not just talking about it, but putting it into action.
We are in the middle of something called the BIG GIVE, where we gave out grants of $400.00 to small groups to do community outreach projects. Over 60 small groups participated and well over $30,000 was handed out. Some groups helped families in need pay bills, others helped local organizations like the homeless shelter and Harbor House with improvements and food. Others did home improvement projects for families and individuals and still others handed out gas cards to people in need. There are many other projects as well, each touching people in different ways.
We also are working with local organizations to do home improvements for elderly, disabled and handicapped people in our communities. These projects are ongoing throughout the year,and we hope to complete over 20 such projects this year.
In July, we are doing a food drive for four local food pantries. Our goal is to fill 1,500 boxes with food and bless those pantries, by filling their shelves for a month. We will end that with a serving Sunday in which we will serve our local communities instead of having a church service. Hundreds of people will go out and serve that morning, instead of sitting in church.
Later this year we are hoping to do a coat and shoes drive to supply needy families and children with coats and shoes.
That is just a taste of what has been and will be happening at NewPointe Community Church. I know there are many people that call NewPointe their home church that do random acts of kindness on a regular basis. I hope this becomes the DNA of NewPointe attendees, too serve others and impact people up close. I have heard many stories of people reaching out and helping people. Calling someone that is going through a hard time and offering to pray for them or bring a meal. Giving someone a gift anonymously. Writing a note of encouragement. Helping a neighbor with outside clean up. Helping people move. Volunteering to help local non profit groups. Visiting elderly in nursing homes and hospitals.
The local church should be the most generous, outward focused organization around. The local church is what should bring hope to the communities it is in. The local church should be the first place people think of when it comes to helping people in need. The local church should be actively working with other community organizations to make a difference and help them reach their goals. The local church should be reaching out to the business community to partner with them and serve them. Local churches should be working together to help those in need.
I am seeing some evidence of these things happening. 8-10 local churches have come together to run a food pantry for the Dover/New Philadelphia area. Local churches are working together on projects like Habitat for Humanity and to raise awareness for foster care and adoption.
Jesus said that we should be salt and light. Salt preserves and enhances and light helps people to see clearly. Is the church doing that? Are we adding value to our community? Are we helping people to see God clearly? Are we being real and relevant to the world around us? Do we really care about lost people? Hurting people? Poor people?