I really love our church. I really do. We spent time yesterday simply celebrating the opportunities we had this summer to be Jesus to people. Here are just a few of the things "Gracies" were involved in:
Mission Trips to Ethiopia, Thailand/Cambodia, Urban Hope, and Nicaragua
A summer-long mission team called Operation Barnabas
Hi-Five Sports Camp
Momentum Youth Conference
20/20 Vision Conference
One Name Worship Event
Elkhart County Fair Parade
Those are just a few of the things that we had opportunities to do simply in June, July, and August. And, the list could go on. I'm just thrilled to be a part of a group of people who, not only desire to learn about God and passionately pursue Him, but also to go out and do the things that allow us simply be Jesus to other people. The church truly is the "hope of the world" and I'm thrilled that our church is trying to offer hope to people in our community and around the world.
We celebrated that yesterday by hearing testimonies of what people were involved in and how God moved in their lives. There really is power in our stories and hearing the stories of what God did through people was so encouraging. It really was great to celebrate that.
We also sent out teams of people with $50 each and asked them to creatively bless someone in our community. It was so fun to see the pictures and hear the stories when they came back toward the end of the service.
But, we also tried to keep the mission in front of us. So, we did a little "under-cover" operation. We strategically placed a few people around our community and in our church.
He posed as someone needing help with food at a busy intersection near our church.
She posed as a lady who car was broken down only 1/2 mile from our church.
She posed as a lady in our church cafe sitting alone, looking very sad and crying.
When we showed the pictures of these people in the service, there was a bit of surprise in people's eyes. It was incredibly encouraging to hear these people share that, yes, some people truly did stop to offer help, but also very challenging to hear them say that most did not. Most just walked past or drove past. The idea behind that was to NEVER rest in the past. We can celebrate the past, yes, but always move forward, always stay on mission, always look for the opportunities that God will provide every single day.
It was a great service that was wrapped up by "commissioning" students and teachers as they start school this week and then by commissioning each of us because we are all on mission to be Jesus to people no matter where we are.