I am currently sitting at the church, waiting for our teams of servants to join us for a time of celebration and dinner tonight. Just a bit ago, I had lunch with my wife, a time when I believe God started speaking. Remember that coffee-shop dream I have? Well, after planning and executing this weekend’s service projects, I have another dream!
This weekend, we decided to cancel our worship gatherings at RCC. Instead, we went out into the community to serve God by serving others. This concept is not brand new with us, but it was brand new for our church. In fact, in a time when we are a bit low on financial giving, it seemed ridiculous to do such a thing. However, this is what we felt God was calling us to do. So, we responded out of obedience.
Due to my overwhelming excitement for this, I found myself leading the team of volunteers that made it happen. I thank God for this team, as they were amazing and truly sent from God!! Anyhow, what I found was this: As I talked with others in the community about what we were doing, they were all extremely supportive that a church would do something like this. I also heard stories about how many people were shocked that we would be willing to serve them, expecting nothing in return. This told me two things. The first is that we live in a culture that does not expect others to help them. The second, like it, is that we need to be doing this more often!
So, what is that dream, you ask? I have a dream that this goes beyond just RCC. I have a dream that all the churches in Salem begin participating in this. But it doesn’t stop there. I have a dream that surrounding communities jump on board, where churches in other towns are doing the same thing. But it doesn’t stop there. I have a dream that it becomes something much of the state is participating in — a day of service. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! I have a dream that people begin to get impatient about having to wait for this one day of service each year, and they begin going out to help their neighbor whenever they see a need. You see, I have a dream that goes back to what Jesus said are the greatest commandments — love God and love others (Mark 12:29-31)! Perhaps this “Serving Salem Together” thing could turn into “Serving Others Together” everyday!
Our church’s vision statement is “a transformed spiritual landscape of Salem and the surrounding communities.” We are surrounded with people who are trained by culture to look out for themselves. In fact, this is so engrained in their minds that they are completely floored when someone steps out and does something for them, and asks for nothing in return. I see this during things like this weekend’s event, and I see it on our annual mission trip with our high school students (workcampNE). As God’s people, we need to change that. I’m not saying that people need to begin expecting us to serve each other. No, instead, I’m saying it should be something that just happens out of our love for God and others. Not only do we need to get to know our neighbors, but we need to love them and serve them, because Christ did that first for us.
I know it is going to take a lot of work, and I know it, most likely, will not happen overnight. But I pray that it does happen. I pray it not because of my dream or anything to do with me. I pray it because that’s what God wants. And Your will be done, Father, on earth as it is in heaven! It all starts with you and I deciding that we’re not going to live in the status quo any longer, but instead, we are going to step out of our comfort zones and actually make a difference in the lives of others. So… Are you ready to jump on board and, with God’s help, make this dream a reality?