Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Breaking Out of the Box

Sunday afternoon was spent up at the church instead of taking my normal post-sermon nap. My “Sunday’ begins with worship team practice and worship on Saturday and then slides into “Sunday” with another worship team practice, teaching a class and then leading worship. This past Sunday was different. Immediately following worship the front of the sanctuary had to be dismantled for the benefit concert we were hosting that evening. The sanctuary lighting had already been changed on Saturday morning. New risers and portable sound system were set up. I sat in my office as car after car arrived with our “guests.”

Breath of Aire, a sixty-voice choir, sang at Evergreen on Sunday night. You are really missing out if you live in western Washington and haven’t heard this choir. Many of their members are church choir directors and musicians. Their members come from across the state of Washington, with their pianist coming up from Portland, Oregon. Their web site states: “Breath of Aire is commited to helping our community by singing for Benefit Concerts. BOA performs a wide range of music from Patriotic, Americana, Country, and Showtunes to Classical, Gospel, Contemporary Inspirational, and Spirituals. BOA’s signature sound is a highlight as the choir sings moving acappella songs around the audience.”

Love, Inc (Love In the Name of Christ) is a Christian referral agency we use for assisting those in need. They “check out” the story and situation of those calling for assistance and make appropriate referrals to agencies or churches. Evergreen’s Deacons limited our assistance to $50 - $75 prior to working with Love, Inc. (unless we knew the people and situation). We live in an area where some people make their “living” off of churches. One man told me, “I don’t work because I don’t have too.” Now, with Love, Inc’s clearance, we regularly assist in the $200 - $300 amount. We know the money is going to be a “hand up” and not a “hand out.” Love, Inc. is able to keep their doors open because of donations--they don’t “charge” anyone for their services. They were running out of money last year and didn’t know how they were going to pay the rent—their next fundraiser was a month away. We found out and met the need, after all, they assist us all the time. That is where the idea for this benefit concert came from.

Evergreen is a small church. We have a weekend worship attendance of around 100 people. How would we be able to host a meaningful fundraising concert? There was a very real possibility that there would be more in the choir than in audience. Breath of Aire didn’t blink an eye. One of their members said, “If there are only 50 people there then those are the people God wanted there.”

The 2.5 hour concert was out of this world! We had 131 people show up for the concert. Several Breath of Aire members said that this was one of the best audiences they had ever had.

The sanctuary will get “put back” to normal over the next few days; the impact of the concert will last for a long time. Many who attended were deeply touched by God. One woman who attends church in a neighboring town said, “This was the most spiritual experience I have ever had.” Several people in attendance had never been in our church before. We were able to raise $1,200 for Love, Inc.

I have spent so much time on this concert to make a point—small churches don’t have to “think” small or settle for being small. Two weeks ago we cancelled our regular worship services to work out in the community (Faith in Act!on). This week we hosted a fabulous concert. In July we will be a co-sponsor of Graham Jam 2008. Evergreen is intentionally looking “outside” of the walls of our church. The people of our church have been tremendously touched by these events. It has taken a small army of folks to staff these events. Every single person would do it again tomorrow! Then, there is the impact we are having on the community of Graham—we are touching one person at a time.

Your church can make a difference!! Break out of the “normal” church box. Look and see where the Holy Spirit is leading your church. It may surprise you!


At 2:36 PM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

Can't believe you'd co sponsor something with those baptist. LOL Sounds like a great time Sunday.


At 8:34 AM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

We are hoping that it will be a great time!


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