It’s funny how God works. Three, maybe four years ago, one of my seminary professors had me write up a ministry plan. (It was a class assignment.) Putting your God-dreams on paper has a way of stoking the fire. And for writers like me who easily slip back and forth between real-life and dreamworld, I quickly envisioned all the kiddos God might want to love on through me.
My plan? Do church outside of church. At apartment complexes–show up with games, stories, maybe dramas, Bible studies. Yeah, my brain popcorn kerneled. Do church at lakes and parks. Nothing fancy. Just step out and show what it means to live in community with a contagious, Christ-centered love. And keep an eye out for outsiders, being ever-ready to invite them in.
Well, long story short, my dream didn’t quite work out. Although the church where I was attending thought it was a good idea, they had other fires burning and were having a tough time getting volunteers for that. So, prayerfully, I realized, at that time, the best thing I could do was pour myself into the ministries God had already started.
Fast forward a few years, and we move to a new state and a new church. A church insanely passionate about sharing God’s love. We arrived during an event called the Big Live. Chew on that name for a minute. What comes to mind? You’re wanting to know the analogy? Nope. Gonna let God show you what He’d like that phrase to mean for you. But as you’re chewing, think of John 10–the thief came to steal and destroy but Christ came that you might have life and have it to the full.
Long story short, it’s that time again–the Big Live–and guess what we’re doing? We’re throwing block parties in public parks and local neighborhoods. We’re going to soup kitchens and crisis pregnancy centers. We’re playing cards with nursing home residents and doing yard work, painting, and just plain loving on our local community members. First weekend of volunteer sign-ups, we had over 400! That’s 400 of God’s children saying, “I get it! I’m more than just a pew-warmer. I’m a child of God–an ambassador, an instrument of grace, so full of love, I can’t but help overflow.” Hopefully, members of my church family will let me share their Big Live stories with you. Because there’s nothing quite as motivating as hearing other Christ-followers in action.
Because life’s much too short to merely exist. Yep, we’re gonna live big, and I can’t wait.
What about you? What are some ways you are living God’s great adventure? What can you do this week to be an active instrument of grace? My challenge to you? Find a way to get out there, spread a little Sonshine. Then come back here and tell us what you did. It doesn’t have to be huge. Doesn’t need to be complicated. Sometimes something as small as a smile (wow, that’s a lot of alliteration) can make a world of difference.
1) At the grocery story, pause to notice–really notice, the person checking you out. Engage them in conversation.
2) Send a neighbor or friend a card and a piece of chocolate.
3) Pray for someone then send them a text letting them know you did. (I’ve started doing this, and I’ve been amazed at the response. Kinda funny. I’ve been praying for many of these folks consistently for some time. But when I let them know I’m praying, as I’m praying, it’s like I sent them a big ol’ hug.
4) Find a way to encourage someone–your child’s teacher, Sunday school teacher, your pastor
5) Bake cookies and give them to a single dad or mom. Or maybe even cook them a meal.
What are your ideas?