Serving on Sunday, part one
A growing trend in church life is congregations taking a Sunday and scattering throughout the community to serve. Most are doing it once a year. Some, like the church I’m part of, are doing it once a quarter. I even heard of one recently doing this once a month! Outreach.com even created some products for this segment of congregations. Seems Pastors and church leaders either hate this idea or love it. Some reasons I’ve heard and can think of against this:
- It subverts the importance of preaching the Word of God.
- It hurts church growth by making things awkward and uncomfortable for newcomers, visitors, and the disconnected.
- “We can’t go a Sunday w/o taking an offering.”
- It promotes a liberal agenda of social action.
- “I can’t imagine how we would find enough for everyone to do around our community.”
Brandon Hatmaker in his great book Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture talks about his church’s experience with this practice. Austin New Church does a “Serving Austin Sunday” every time there is five Sunday’s in a month. He gives three reasons why:
- It creates a service minded DNA. It’s an opportunity to communicate serving is a priority to the church.
- It changes the posture to the community. The community sees the church’s deed matching the creed.
- The opportunity to invite others. Hatmaker says it’s the most highly attended Sunday for non-believers, skeptics, the unchurched, and the dechurched. “I’m constantly amazed at who might show up at a service project.”
Other reasons for and against? Leave in the comments. I’ll share some of my thoughts for and against after two years and eight Faith in Action Sunday’s a little later.
Brandon’s book is well worth reading! Also check out his blog.