Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soup Kitchens and Salvation, Part 2 (of 3)

So my first post on this subject stirred the most comments on a post (via Facebook) that I've ever gotten. And I think I may have confused some of my friends into thinking that I'm not the sort of Christian pastor who thinks that doing good in the community is a good thing in and of itself. So I thought, in the interests of clarity, I might just list the ministries we are doing that are more of the "community benefit" variety:
  1. CrossWord Cafe: 10 years ago, our church founded a local hangout for teens called the CrossWord Cafe. It is designed to provide a safe place for teens to come every day after school for music and art lessons, tutoring, and a place for teen bands to jam in front of their friends. The Cafe also provides biblical instruction to interested teens one night per week.
  2. Chillicothe Skate Park: For years, teens in our community had nowhere in town that they were permitted to ride their skateboards or BMX bikes. After discussions with the local park board and a vote by our congregation, we decided to lease a chunk of our church property to the City Park Board for the construction of a skate/BMX park. It has been open now for about a week.
  3. CBC Deacon's Fund: A portion of the offering on the first Sunday of each month (typically the Sunday with the largest offering) goes into our Deacon's Fund, which goes to help both church members and community people with financial issues. Thousands of dollars every year are funneled through this fund to meeting physical needs.
  4. Love-in-Action Food Pantry: Many years ago, the churches in town decided that, rather than compete with one another, they should simply band together to fund and support one local food pantry. It runs out of the local AOG church, but our church members support it with donations and time.
  5. Community Charities Resale Shop: Recently, some of our members have plugged a vast amount of donations and time into getting a resale shop off the ground, the proceeds from which will go to support local ministries and the CrossWord Cafe.
Maybe I should have clarified sooner, so that people can understand where I'm coming from. Again, it's not that I'm against our churches benefit ting the communities in which we're located. What I'm against is prioritizing such things versus the vigorous proclamation of the Gospel. A hot meal, a paid bill, good clothes cheap, and a safe place for community kids to hang out, skate, etc. are all good things. But the best thing is still eternal life in Christ, amen? And to offer the former without offering (or at least de-emphasizing) the latter is to put Band-Aids on paper cuts while the person dies of cancer.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Amen, Joe. Amen!