Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pyramids of service…

At a recent Servant Leaders meeting, we discussed an idea that I ‘borrowed’ from Woodridge Church’s Minister of Outreach. It’s a model for enriching our Christian faith, she claims, by deepening our commitment to service. Particularly, it helps churches help worshippers incorporate such ‘other-mindedness’ into their typical day-to-day. Not a bad mission, I thought…

Anyway, the Woodridge minister gave me a chart describing what I call a ‘Pyramid of Service.’ Level one- i.e. the first steps on the pyramid- are one-time, easy acts of service with little to no follow up. Serving food at a homeless shelter, packing meals for Feed My Starving Children, helping an elderly neighbor clear out gutters in the fall- all these are wonderful, simple activities. At PCCC, we’ve done many before, and this autumn will offer more such opportunities. On October 9, we’ll do the Minneapolis CROP Walk together; a fun afternoon for which we raise money to combat local and global hunger. In November, we’ll do something similar for IOCP- the Sleep Out- an enjoyable evening fundraiser (in a cardboard box!) for housing and homelessness in the NW suburbs. I hope you’ll join me in these and other acts of service.

Level two gets a bit involved. This is when you commit to an ongoing service project, or provide leadership to organizing level one events. For instance- those who make the Sleep Out happen have increased their service engagement; those who regularly drive the Sunday morning bus share a similar dedication. In coming months, we’ll add another ‘Level Two’ opportunity at PCCC. We’ve committed to partnering with St. Barnabas on the first Wednesday evening of every month to provide IOCP with volunteers for their food shelf and thrift store operations. Once a month, couple hours in the evening, serving neighbors in need of food and clothing. Not a bad regular activity to practice your faith, I believe! If you want to help out, let me know.

Level three, needless to say, goes deeper still. It’s when you focus your energies and undertake greater responsibilities for the well-being of folk in need. I have difficulty defining this ‘level’ as clearly as others. Certainly, longevity matters- keeping a ministry like Sleep Out, CROP Walk, church choir, the Community Garden operating year after year come to mind. As does becoming a mentor for at risk youth; opening your home to a family or single mother in need. PCCCers display level three-like service to God’s Kingdom in many different ways already. But if you’re aching to go deeper, yet are having trouble deciding where your efforts would be used best, please call; we’ll grab coffee! I like few things better then helping folk enrich their faith/life through service.

As you can tell, I found this model useful for thinking about service, especially since our vision is “To become a beacon of openness and service in the NW suburbs.” The SL Team did too, although we noticed that it’s not as simple as moving up the pyramid like you would climb a ladder. Sometimes, it’s helpful to ‘take a step back,’ unload some responsibilities so you can rest or be more effective in other pursuits. Other times, it’s imperative to stretch yourself, launch into unknown waters, trust God will carry you through. Further, you can have a deep, abiding commitment to one ministry at church or in the community, while still participating in the CROP Walk or attending monthly service nights. We can be on several levels at once; the key is cultivating a desire to serve!

So if you’ve never done much service, we’ve organized opportunities to get your feet wet. If you’re wanting more, but are unsure of your time or energy level, we’ve got that covered too through ongoing, lower-risk projects. And if you’re searching for a ‘calling,’ or particular venue to make a lasting difference, PCCC will help you discern that path with God’s help. Mostly, though, I hope you know how grateful I remain for all the acts and lives of service you lead already! May we use that service and compassion together to reach out to many others, and shine a brighter, bolder light of love.

Grace and Peace,

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