Reprised…….A Church Observed

I wrote the post “A Church Observed”,  included below, in February 2009.  What I saw then and what I see now is very exciting….people in congregations across our community doing great things!  But the potential is even greater for certain functions if we bring various efforts together and meet the larger need in a more efficient and effective way.  Here is one idea…..
I have been pleased to see the birth of one new ministry that I think has HUGE potential for people in our community….the incorporation and setting up of CROSSing Paths, Inc. …… This is an independent cross-church, inter-denominational Christian ministry that will bring many who are involved in service to the elderly and disabled of our community together in a way that few other activities in our community can do.   The vision is grand.  the implementation is coming along well, the enthusiasm is building.  Executive Director Pat Sabiston is putting the processes in place, making the necessary community connections, and preparing for the launch of this ministry in the near future.  If she contacts you, listen to what she has to say.  If you are among those cherished ones who have a servant’s heart for the elderly and disabled, contact her to see how you can help.
Pat and her staff and board are not “re-inventing the wheel.”  They are rolling in an existing  “wheel”… that of a large tractor with a hefty plow attached…. that has been working very well in other communities and giving it more space to cultivate the power of combined Christian community.  The need is here.  The resources are here.  The time is now.  The vision is being cast.  The planning is underway.
As with any new start up organization, there are things that need to be done that only people gifted in certain ways can accomplish.   It will take a number of people to achieve maximum velocity.  Right now “seed money” is needed for the necessary tools to get the ministry fully operational.  Foundations are being identified and approached to help with that, but individuals also, who see the need and the potential, are needed to help with identifying and providing sources of funding.  Let Pat or others involved come and share the vision with you or your group!

A Church Observed…..from a weblog post by Cathy Byrd February 2009

Tonight a young woman who works the night shift at the local mission told me she had seen a gentleman who is a member at the church I attend at the mission at 6:00am on a weekend morning helping some homeless men with an enterprise that he and another man have organized to give these men work. She was at our church for a weekly Christian 12 step fellowship meeting. While there she observed workers preparing for the annual women’s weekend. Also, two men came in with a large cooler to get ice for a meal their small group was serving to homeless people at a weekly downtown feeding site. This young woman commented that “there must be something going on at this church. Everyone I see who goes here is really busy with the Lord’s work.”

Would that it were true! She has observed a dozen or so members engaged in ministries of service to others and assumes that it is true of everyone here. It is true that our pastors and congregation have made big gains in fostering a culture of service over the last year or two. We’ve ramped up our missions participation- local, regional, and foreign. Still there are those who defer to others, who take the position that they needn’t do anything because there is always “somebody else” who will do it.

Our small groups are making progress in establishing service as an expected function of the group, on at least a quarterly basis. Some new ministries, like a prayer shawl ministry, are being born out of the conversations and connections through those small groups. People are finding common passions, interests, and abilities and joining together for impact.

There are moments when I am so proud of the kingdom impact that members of my faith community are having. Then there are moments when I contemplate the magnitude of the impact that we could have if only all the people who call our church their spiritual “home” caught the same vision and set about to contribute their time, talent, and treasure to the task of seeing it come to fruition.

In the meantime, I respond to this young woman and others who say, “I hear such good things about your church”, by saying , “Yes, we do have a lot going on for the kingdom!”