Let’s say a church wants to find the best possible way to be Jesus in the city in our city. We want to find a way to do the things that can bring impact that lives far beyond the act of caring. We can hope that our pointed efforts would pass the muster of making the world more like God would want it to be. Beyond acts of strategic generosity, we might want to prioritize building relationships to add depth, longevity, and authenticity. We would hope to find an opportunity that mirrors every challenge our community faces, and then simply ask the question “How can we help you?” Oh yeah, and we really work hard to do this with no agenda other than to be Jesus for some people and do it in a way that absolutely reflects the spirit of love that is uniquely his.
If only we could find a place and people like that to engage with. Guess what; we can. It’s called the local school, and specifically for us, Lynch Elementary. A congregational partnership with a local school is absolutely the most high leverage relationship we can build, finding even our minimal acts of ministry make a huge difference. Kids need to be in an environment that looks loved and cared for, just like they should be. Some children need encouragement and direction that a few hours a month with a mentor provides. Educators – the absolute front line of day to day ministry in my book – need more encouragement and support than we can possibly imagine. Every year we lose our brightest and best to burn out and compassion fatigue that can be avoided. But it takes people with consistent commitment to be there, sometimes in the smallest of ways.
I am so proud to pastor a people who are ready to take this commitment on. Our friend and congregational leader Cynthia Kidd is the principal at Lynch. And it is our joy to pour out irrational generosity on her, her faculty, staff, and students. I want teachers there to know they are not alone in this. I pray that even the children who may be unaware of our prayerful presence will be impacted by it. I want FBC to be known not as the Church on Gandy, but the church that resides beyond these walls and in the places of greatest need.
This is what Jesus meant when he prayed “Thy Kingdom Come!” Make things in our sphere of influence more heavenly; the way God wants his world to be. On Saturday we will do some landscaping that can change the landscape of a school and a life. Sunday we will generously give supplies to be distributed, blessing them and our own students and teachers. Tuesday we will feed Team Lynch as a way of saying we want to help you nourish and nurture the lives of these children. As I once heard an old rural preacher say, “That’s when the church becomes the church.” It is. And through your love and service, it will be.