Faith In Action Weekend: Why we SHOULDN’T serve our community
Four times a year Bridge Church takes a Sunday and SCATTERS instead of GATHERING, taking on some of the major needs in ourcommunity together. Lot’s of interest for and against this idea when it comes up. Let me give you a few reasons to not do this:
- It’s uncomfortable. Someone actually said to me a while back – “I’m uncomfortable with canceling Sunday services at church.” My response: “Me too!” I’d much rather be sitting in a padded chair, listening to someone talk about how to do Christianity and soaking up good praise and worship music, etc. Or better yet, having people listen to me. But as a leader in my second journey I’m learning that the discomfort is needed to really grow as a disciple and to truly make disciples.
- It probably WON’T grow your church numerically, at least not immediately. Actually, every Faith in Action Sunday we tend to lose people. It’s messy to see the needs in people’s lives. It’s chaotic and hard to organize projects around the community. There’s lots of other options around that don’t require as much effort. And it’s just not for everybody, even though we have projects that every person can do, no matter their age or physical ability. But, our desire is to multiply disciples and missionaries, not just put out more chairs every Sunday. I believe in Church Growth, but I’m learning that sometimes church growth can come at the expense of making mature disciples. Serving and doing messy, difficult, uncomfortable, radically generous things personally and corporately can be a powerful tool for life change, discipling, and creating a culture of transformation. The laws of the harvest: you reap what you sow, you reap later than you sow, you reap more than you sow. If we want to produce life-giving disicples who bring real change to the community through Christ, providing opportunities for those disciples to do it together may be necessary.
- You will get taken advantage of. When we talk about the needs of the poor around us today, we do it without ownership. They get help from the government; they could be doing more for themselves; they have big TV’s and cigarettes so why can’t they be more responsible. The idea that drives Faith in Action weekend is to do nothing is not an option. To bring change we must start somewhere. And God has sent us to be the solution and good news in this world (John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 2:10). To list reasons why not to help someone guarantees they continue down the path they are in. It takes time and effort, but build partnerships with community agencies, love people for who they are, get a vision for who they can be with Christ and don’t be afraid to lose something for a great cause. If we really believe in the upside down principles of God’s kingdom – “give and it will be given to you” ; “die and you’ll live” ; “lose and you’ll gain” – fear wouldn’t hinder engagement in the hard to reach areas.
- Some people may take this as the Gospel. Every Faith in Action weekend we have two mantras: “We do not serve to be accepted by God. We serve because we ARE accepted by God AND empowered by Him for good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Second, the Gospel is incomplete until it is shared. Showing the Gospel is a powerful tool for cultivation, but “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). I am afraid as a leader that someone may think they’re making themselves more acceptable to God through serving, but we can counter that fear by good teaching and serving provides a perfect platform to explain why our efforts are not good enough. But at the same time, we can’t rip out the passages beckoning us to serve b/c of this fear – Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10, James 1:27, 2:14-15, 1 Peter 4:10-11.
Please leave a comment with your reasons why we shouldn’t do Faith in Action, etc.
Faith in Action Sunday is this weekend. Take a quick look at our Itinerary. See a quick video from our last FIA weekend here. Later I’ll give some of the reasons why we SHOULD do this. Unless you talk me out of it.