This weekend begins a festival for our little village called, "Harvest Fest." It started a few years ago to unite a village that in many ways had lost cohesiveness and identity. They put on a great fair/festival, the marine corp band has come the last 3 years, good fair rides, bouncy things for kids, and a good parade on Sunday after church.
One struggle that we have had as a church is how to best be involved in the weekend. We have done such things as having a float in the parade, passing out water, and hosting our own booth, however, are these things edifying spiritually or are they just advertising? Do people look at a float and say, "Boy, I want to be at that church!" Do they see a booth and think, "That church really preaches Christ and Him Crucified?" Or do they see us set up next to a palm reader and figure we are the same as them? I struggle with these distinctions and how to best serve and be a part of the community during a festival meant to bring all people together.
This year we had an opportunity to serve in a small way and I feel is a decent way to be part of the community. After a big benefit for one of our members, people donated tons of water and soda. We had around 12 cases of water left. I talked to the village coordinator if we could donate water to the Harvest Fest and she said, "But don't you need it for something?" I said, "Not really, we can always buy it and if it is needed, why not." She was taken back and kind of asked, "Do you guys want something for it?" We were able to donate it without any questions asked.
Have we always been demanding of our communities to have that kind of reaction? Does our community see us as a service entity or a drainer of funds and precious tax money? I do not have the answers, but the idea of just giving things to the community for no reason whatsoever sounds like a good start.
Lord God, may we serve without looking for new members, more money, or more advertising but out of the hope that your blood has given to us. AMEN.
"Chief of sinner though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me!"