Thursday, August 09, 2007

The church has left the building: The Service/Outreach Projects.

Today’s Dahlia: Glorios.

Faith in Action (FIA) is a joint project between World Vision, Outreach and Zondervan. FIA is a four week, church-wide campaign to help the church focus on mission/ministry outside the walls of the church. Today I am going to talk about service/outreach projects

Our churches have separated themselves from our communities.

Many years ago I served as an intern at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. HPPC had “adopted” a housing project in a poor part of town. We had all kinds of ministries going on in that housing project. If kids came to study hall a certain number of times they could spend a day with our junior high group for fun, game and food. It was a great experience for the inner city kids and the church kids. The sad part of this story isn’t about HPPC, it is about a church that was just across the street from the housing project. That church had been a neighborhood church—made up of people from that community. As the people turned their lives around they moved out of the area but continued to attend the church. Before long the church built an eight foot tall fence around the church and its grounds. They were trying to keep the riff raff from the church. That church had ZERO impact on their neighborhood and community.

Our churches have invisible fences around them. The good folks of our churches don’t want people in the church to cuss, be rough around the edges or to cause things to be uneasy. We have been very effective in keeping people out of the church. Doesn’t that sound like what was happening to the “church in Jesus’ day? So what did Jesus do? He went out to the people! FIA will get our church folks “out to the people” as we serve them!

Our church is going to look into doing four projects on that weekend. One project will be designed for those who are physically unable to do manual labor. One option for this group will be putting together AIDS caregiver kits. This will be done at the church during the normal church time (if a visitor comes to the church there will be someone folks there working on a service project). World Vision has very specific directions for the kits. These kits are greatly needed in Africa.

We have not decided on what projects to undertake. The World Vision web site has many ideas for projects. Check them out here.


At 5:08 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

"Our churches have invisible fences around them."

Yes, that is so true!!! Sometimes our very declarations of inclusiveness that we read from scripture in worship, totally contradict our day to day practice of inclusiveness, don't you think?

I so look forward to read how your programs evolve.

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