Immanuel Church hosted Vacation Bible School July 23-27, and we were delighted that 50 children and youth volunteers attended the event. Many of the children and youth came from the community, from extended families of Immanuel members, and from Beginnings and Beyond Daycare. This would qualify Vacation Bible School as a community outreach event, and it was amazing! We were a diverse mixture of all ages and races. We came together to learn about Jesus and to enjoy Christian fellowship. And it was all made possible by the members of Immanuel Church, the Immanuel Christian Education Commission, and the wonderful group of adult volunteers who gave of their time and talents to give these children an unforgettable week of Christian fellowship.
We have other opportunities to reach out into the community throughout the year, as well. Each month we host a senior day that reaches out to the seniors adults of our community. This month we welcomed over 70 seniors into our facility. We welcome six Al-anon groups each week, a monthly knitters’ guild meeting, two monthly AARP meetings, weekly karate classes and cheerleading classes during the summer, a Cub Scout troop and a Girl Scout troop, Brown Hearing Center, health screenings, a home owners’ association, and we are a voting location for our precinct. And this year, we welcomed a youth group from Connecticut on a mission trip.
For a church our size, that is an amazing resume of welcoming the community into our doors. But we have even more opportunities to show the love of Jesus Christ to our community. Every time someone steps onto our facility, whether it is a daycare parent, a person parking their car to attend an event in Old Town Spring, a delivery person, a contractor making a repair, a lawn care worker, a visitor at Sunday worship, someone needing food or other assistance, or a salesman wanting to make a sale, we have an opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ and to show that person that Immanuel Church is a church that practices the teachings of Jesus Christ.
That is an awesome responsibility, but also an awesome opportunity that every member of Immanuel should see as part of their discipleship. If people come to Immanuel Church and are not convinced that we are serious about showing God’s love to all people, whether they are loveable or not, then we are not doing our job. This is something that every member can do, not just our pastor and our elected leaders. We should all see ourselves as representatives of Immanuel Church and as disciples of Jesus who are offering God’s love to those who may not have been loved for quite some time.
That’s evangelism, and it doesn’t stop at the end of our property line. We continue to extend the same hospitality and caring out into the community wherever we work and conduct business, wherever we attend concerts and go out to eat. When someone notices that we seem abnormally kind and respectful, then we let them know where we attend church, and that they are welcome to come and join us.
Like I said, we have an amazing track record of welcoming the community into our doors. Let’s take full advantage of those opportunities and let people know why we are being so open and welcoming. It is the love of Jesus Christ that compels us. The reason we are here is to tell the world about Jesus and to embody the love of Jesus in our words and actions. We are Immanuel United Church of CHRIST. The word “Christ” is the most important word in our title and it is the guiding principle of all that we do. Let us never lose sight of that fact.
Blessings and Peace,