One of my favorite things that we do as a church is host a Serve Day each July. It’s a day where we all head out into the community to serve and make a difference in the lives of those who could use a little help. We partner with local ministries, identify some families in need, find ways to serve local schools and just get out and do good together.
This day isn’t something unique to Sun City Church.
Churches have been participating in efforts like this for years and often they come together to make a bigger impact in the city then they could alone. In fact, this year we rebranded our event from “Sun City Serves” to “Serve Day” in hopes that we can partner with other churches and ministries in the future and accomplish a lot in our city in the spirit of unity and collaboration.
Here’s one thing worth mentioning:
We’re under no delusions that we are changing Spokane with one day of service.
Actually, that’s not even why we do this. I thought it would be helpful to share the “why” behind Serve Day for those who are going to be involved and for those who’d like to see your church participate.
1. It’s always a win to look beyond ourselves
One of my ARC coaches always says, “A people left to themselves will inevitably make it about themselves.” It’s the struggle of human nature. We are born with selfish natures that drive us to make our life more comfortable instead of focusing on others. This is absolutely true of churches.
It’s why our first core value as a church is Outward Focus. We wanted to plant the flag in the ground and say – we’re going to be about others…not ourselves. Serve Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate and live out this core value. Anytime we get out and serve others, we look like Jesus and that is a big win for our whole congregation. Even if it’s just for a day, it’s culture shaping for us.
2. We’re helping shape people’s opinion of “the church”
I’m concerned about the general negative attitude of society towards churches. Most non-churchgoers would say that churches do very little good for our communities and tend to just huddle in their buildings and do “religious stuff”. That bothers me.
God wants churches to be agents of positive change in our communities. At Sun City Church, our second core value is generosity. I want Spokane to know that we’re here to be generous and do good in the city. I want the people who live here to be glad we exist, even if they never plan on attending one of our services or events.
I came across this scripture in my devotions this week:
“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:15
That’s a great ServeDay scripture. There are people in our city that are ignorant of how good our God is. They don’t know that Christ has more for them than they could ever imagine. And they speak out against churches and Christianity in our city. Here’s how God’s called our church to silence these types of folks: by doing good. When our schools are better off, when our elderly are taken care of, when foster kids are housed, when the hungry are fed and the neglected are cared for, our conduct will silence those who want to see the Church limited and marginalized in its influence. This is the will of God.
3. It’s an area where unity and collaboration is natural
I’ve always had a heart to see churches and ministries work together. I can’t escape the idea that Jesus loves it when all of his kids get along and come together. Having been a part of several different denominations and types of churches, I understand there are some big differences between us.
But what I love about Serve Day is that it’s so simple. It doesn’t matter what theological perspective you have, what songs you sing, or how you pray – we all serve people the same way. Serving our city is one of the things we can do together across churches and nonprofit ministries that can show our unbelieving neighbors that we do in fact love each other and function together as a Body of Christ in our city.
I think some efforts for unity and collaboration can be tricky. But honestly, this one’s a gimme. I’d love to see Serve Day become a day where The Church in Spokane (and beyond) stands together and just loves people well.
4. It’s more bonding for our people than a potluck
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about eating. In fact, we’ll be hosting several BBQs this summer and getting to know the people in our church better. But something awesome happens when you get shoulder to shoulder with others and accomplish a project. If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know what I mean. There are lots of people in our churches that just don’t connect as well sitting around and talking (all the men said “Amen”). But as you get out and sweat to accomplish something helpful, friendships can be birthed that help people understand that they are on the inside of something significant and powerful.
5. Some people find their sweet spot
This is the big win for us and the ultimate “why” behind Serve Day. It’s good for all of us to get out into our community and serve. But God has created some people in such a way where outreach is their sweet spot. It’s the place that they come alive. My prayer as we head into this year’s Serve Day is that we will help those people awaken to the idea that for them, serving really shouldn’t be a once a year thing. Instead, it should be the place of ministry that they begin to serve in consistently. This is how our church (along with the other great churches in Spokane) will eventually change our city.
There are those who have been given a passion for serving schools, the poor, the broken, the addicted, the refugee, and the marginalized and they just haven’t discovered it yet. Serve Day is an opportunity for these hidden passions to awaken. When they do, we’ll start to see an impact that goes far beyond a one-day event. We’ll see ongoing ministry relationships built that reach deep into the fabric of our society and make a big difference.
That’s what Serve Day is all about. We’d absolutely love to have you get involved. If you attend another church, I’d love to help you with some resources for getting something like this started at your church. Check out our Serve Day page to get involved. Projects will be added as they come in from leaders over the next couple weeks.