First Free’s Serve St. Louis, Tweaked

by Laura Calys

Serving to have impact in people’s lives is one of the desired outcomes of Serve St. Louis. The question I ask myself when planning for this event (and others) is, “Should the impact to be in our lives, or the lives of those we serve?” My answer is both.

We have participated in Serve St. Louis for the past several years, and I have seen a trend at First Free and other churches. As the number of people participating from our church community has dropped year by year, so too has the number of churches who have signed up for the city-wide outreach. What does this mean and what should we learn?

Listening to the churches who have dropped out, I’ve learned that just because they aren’t participating in Serve St. Louis any longer doesn’t mean that the event wasn’t a catalyst for change. Some of these churches have begun to think differently about the culture of serving the community. Also, I’ve heard and seen from others at First Free that families, friends, and small groups have joined together to find ways to serve. I’d say that’s a big WIN!

So taking our cues from what God is already doing around us, we decided to tweak Serve St. Louis. Our passion for serving may not be your passion. We get that. Rather than offering the Body a long list of serving opportunities we will open the doors for you to find and develop your own projects.

One of our goals is for our people to serve the community from their hearts. We think that can happen best when the flame of passion is stoked to develop a project meaningful to you; whether that’s with your family, your friends, or small group

Another goal is to empower you to ask God, ‘Where are you already at work in people’s lives and how can I join in that work?” and “What are the real needs (not perceived needs) of those in our schools and local communities?” Whether it’s a family in crisis through divorce, abuse, or illness, or an elderly couple/person in your neighborhood who can’t seem to get the lawn mowed or clean the house or garage, we want to make a difference.

One cry of the heart from of our people is, “How can we make a one-time service event develop into a culture of serving? We want to make a deeper impact in people’s lives by giving of ourselves in a more meaningful and ongoing way.”

God is on the move. If we look around us and ask the right questions I believe God can point the way for our small groups and adult communities to serve those in need. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus himself said that “the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” God has prepared your life for good works to do AND He is preparing the hearts of people to receive not only the good deed but the Word of God through you. We call this intentional relational ministry.

Would you join us in this effort? Would you commit to talk about service opportunities you can do together with your small group or Sunday class? For those of you who aren’t in a group or class, Serve St. Louis will provide a list of projects in our neighborhood, community, and surrounding area for you to join. Check out the website, servestlouis.com, to sign up!

Expect to hear more in the near future. We will communicate to leadership teams of Small Groups and Adult Connections. Or, if you have questions, feel free to contact me. I’d love to share my ideas and hear yours! You can call me at 636.779.2185 or email me at lcalys@efree.org.

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