My pragmatic side was awakened this past weekend with a flurry of ministry. Ah, it was wonderful to no longer trudge about with a theology book in tow, hammering away at the latest paper, and conversing about what could be, should, and would be if only I wasn’t so dang busy.
After several weeks of intense planning and coordination, the small town of Dublin, PA had its community day and my church of employ was front and center, right in the thick of things.
That’s right, Living Hope Community Church was all over the place for the event. Though the town did supply a lot of the funds and some games and the like for kids, we got involved in two major ways. First of all, volunteers from the church put together a series of crafts for kids at a craft tent and then a group of first rate workers strung together a series of tents to create a cafe kind of setting, providing free drinks and cookies. Both were warmly received by all and greatly appreciated. So my question about all of this is, “Does this ‘count’ as Kingdom Work.”
As I reflect upon what exactly transpired in the busy hours of this past Sunday, I’m pretty sure that it did. For one, anything that gets Christians out of the church and into the community has to be a good thing. We met a lot of people and proved our mettle to those in the borough who didn’t think we could find a enough volunteers who would help out. In the larger scheme of things, Dublin Day was a good step forward.
Secondly, I think that dishing out free crafts, free drinks, and free cookies, while also providing shade on a sweltering day did something to help the battered reputation of Christians in general. Hopefully we were able to dispel some of the myths held by skeptics.
Of course for something to have value, I’m not sure if it’s even necessary to have some kind of strategic goal in mind (i.e. evangelism, church attendance, whatever). Do Christians really need to have some kind of secret end in mind before they will pitch in and be a part of the community? This is not quite the same thing as incidentally sharing about your love for Christ because it happens to come up. The former is strategic planning with one particular goal in mind, the other happens because it’s woven into the fabric of your life.
It would seem that for some of the Christians present at Dublin Day, the old-school evangelism monkey was still writhing and screaming, tenaciously clinging to some backs. As I planned for the event I found myself having to give myself reasons to be involved in the community beyond simply helping out with the event, blessing people, and making some new acquaintances. As the old-school evangelism monkey dished out the guilt, I found myself stepping into the bold new territory of guilt-free evangelism. Can I just go to this event, hang out with people, be myself, and still feel OK about it? Man, I hope so.