Its been about 7 years since I stood on the stage of the Little Theater at my old high school, sweating bullets as I tried to rally folks around a vision of a new kind of church. The church’s name, if it ever got off the ground, would be “MainStreet” because of our desire to bring the hope of New Life beyond the church walls and “in the marketplace daily with all who happen to be there” (Acts 17:17).
I don’t remember exactly what I said that night, but I remember the text I was riffing on was Matthew 5.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a bowl. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matt 5:14-16).
My main message was to warn church-going folks that the particular bowl we often let the light of Christ get trapped under is the church building and church-centered programs that often preoccupy our time, energy and resources. If we ourselves are the bearers of light and the carriers of the message of hope to a dark and weary world, then we need to get out beyond the walls, serving our neighbors, loving our local community, and letting our “good deeds shine out for all to see.”
Well, that little church did get off the ground! For seven years now MainStreet has made attempts to keep local “outreach” and service to neighbors a key priority (with mixed results for sure). The greatest example of this has been our annual “Sunday 2 Serve” where we forego our regular Sunday worship service and instead worship God by going out in teams to serve people in need. A half dozen other churches now participate as well, making it a community-wide light-shining effort.
The local newspaper had a nice write up about this year’s event, and I’ll conclude with something I told the editor and let you read the full article and enjoy some photos.
“It’s easy to send money to organizations to serve the needs around us. It’s far more meaningful and enduring to go out and help a neighbor face to face. This is MainStreet Covenant Church’s 8th year going into the homes of elderly shut-ins and people with special needs, cleaning, doing house repairs, yard work, and more. We’ve built relationships with some of these folks, and they look forward to our return every year. You think you’re just cleaning someone’s windows, but you’re touching their heart as well.”
Read full article here.