Cherrydale Baptist Church
Friday, May 24, 2013
To love God and people above all else
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise
your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16
Below is an overview of Cherydale’s commitment to bless our communities by being outreach-focused:
Who: Small groups are the primary venue in which we seek to be involved in community service. Our hope is that every member at Cherrydale will be committed to a small group, and every small group will be regularly involved in community service.
What: Servant Evangelism. Following the example of Jesus, we strive to be involved in both acts of compassion that demonstrate the love of God and also to proclaim verbally the good news of the gospel. Both of these elements, true acts of service in love and humility, and the bold proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ need to be present for servant evangelism to be effective. Servant evangelism also implies activities that are relational in nature, that is, service that creates avenues for interaction with people, not service that is solely administrative or electronic in nature.
Where: Ideally, small groups are encouraged to be involved in servant evangelism in the community in which they meet. Cherrydale has small groups that meet throughout Northern Virginia, as well as in parts of D.C. and Maryland. Engaging in servant evangelism in all of the communities in which our small groups meet expands the reach of our church body enabling us to share the love of Christ with others where we live.
When: Small groups are encouraged to be involved in servant evangelism once a month. This service would be in place of (not in addition to) the small group meeting that week and can be done at the time that the small group would normally meet, or another time that would better suit the service activity being performed.
Why: There are many reasons to be involved in community service that are rooted in Scripture: to be light and salt to the lost around us (Matt. 5:13-15), to be the witnesses we have been commanded to be (Acts 1:8), and to be involved in making disciples of all peoples (Matt. 28:19), for example. Practically speaking, involvement in regular service helps small groups to overcome the natural tendency to be inward-focused thus leading to greater spiritual health and vitality and it also provides a natural venue to see the ways God has gifted each member in the group as they work together serving others.
How: Getting started is the challenge! Once small groups get involved in regularly serving together they find that it becomes an important part of growing in their faith. To help you get over that initial question of “how do we get started,” here are some contexts in which Cherrydale small groups have performed community service:
· Nursing home
· Assisted living facility
· Homeless shelter
· Food pantry
· Rehabilitation center
· Tutiring programs
These are just a few examples of the kinds of places your small group could look for in your community as a place to serve.
If your small group in having difficulty finding a community service opportunity where you can serve on a regular basis near where you meet, or if you would like additional ways to be involved in community service, consider some of these seasonal opportunities to be involved in servant evangelism:
1. Trash Pick-up: Find an area in your community that has become cluttered with litter, or overgrown with weeds. Put up signs which read, “Kindness in Progress”, and take a few hours to clean up the area.
2. Bike Trail Drink Give-away: If your small group has a bike trail in your community, meet on a Saturday morning and handout free bottles of water or sports drinks to all the joggers and bike riders who pass by. You can also attach a verse to the bottle, such as, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
3. Watermelon Give-away: Load up a pick-up truck (or a couple of SUVs) with watermelons and drive around the neighborhood giving away free watermelons door-to-door. You could mention that your Small Group meets in the neighborhood. For a twist, give away pumpkins in the Fall, cupcakes for Jesus’ birthday, or decorated eggs for Easter.
4. Interior Car Cleaning: Set up a place in your neighborhood with plenty of signs offering, “Totally Free Car Interior Cleaning… No Donations Accepted.” Be armed with several vacuum cleaners, extension cords, Windex, etc. Have a couple of Small Group members designated to talk to the driver while the rest of the Small Group is cleaning.
5. Dog Washing: You’ll have many shocked (and grateful) neighbors with this offer! Take along the proper equipment with you (use dog shampoo, not human shampoo)… and be sure the dog is friendly to strangers!
6. Leaf Raking: Just offer to do the front yard in order to get a maximum number of people reached. Rakes, not leaf blowers, are recommended for this one. Raking gives more time for fellowship within the Small Group as you do it, but also gives more time for the owner of the house to come out and ask questions.
7. Smoke Detector Battery replacement. It is recommended to change the battery in your smoke detectors twice a year, and to remember this easily, it is recommended to be done when clocks are changed for daylight savings. The weekend of time changes have your Small Group go around explaining this to the neighbors and offer them free 9 V. batteries for each of their smoke detectors. You can also offer to come in and change them if they would like.
For all these activities, have flyers available to handout and be ready to talk to those who stop to inquire about why you are doing this service. Be ready to share something like, “God’s love and salvation through Jesus is totally free, so this gift of service is totally free as well.”
There is no limit to the creativity that a Small Group can use to reach out to their communities through Servant Evangelism. The examples above are intended to start the creative juices flowing. We encourage each Small Group to devote time to praying on a regular basis for God to give you wisdom and insight on ways that would be best to reach your community.