In March of 2008, we decided to try something that we had heard a few churches do. It was a little crazy, but it was exciting. We cancelled our Sunday morning worship gatherings and went out into the community and did ministry/service projects. Honestly, we were looking at something to do on “Daylight Saving Sunday” since attendance was always down dramatically that day. We had heard of a few churches in other areas that had done such a thing, so we prayed about it and thought it through. We had a pretty good turnout and it was an exciting day as our people got out into the community. People in the community were truly blown away. Why would a church actually cancel Sunday services and serve the community? We did get some stares and comments about our t-shirts that said “Don’t go to church…” on the front and “…BE the Church” on the back. (I still love wearin that shirt around town!)
The funny thing was, two weeks before that weekend, I ran into Brian Bloye at WestRidge Church and he told me about an idea of getting all the churches in the county to cancel Sunday services and do ministry projects in the community. I said, “Shut up! We are doing that in two weeks!” Well, it appeared that God was up to something as He was putting the same thing on different people’s hearts. Brian said to let him know how ours went and I later told him how awesome it was. Well, a couple of months later plans were being made for churches to do just what we had done all around our county. It was a bit risky for us to cancel services twice in one year, but we joined in the cooperation and it was amazing! That first year, 8 churches participated and did a couple of hundred projects. We all gathered for a worship celebration that night in the parking lot of Sam’s Club in Hiram and had nearly 5000 people there! It was truly awesome!
Last year we saw 35 churches from not only Paulding County but Cobb County as well. Somewhere close to 400 ministry projects were done in our area. That Sunday evening close to 10,000 people gathered in the parking lot of Sam’s Club for an amazing worship celebration! God was moving and out of that came a non-profit organization called Engage Atlanta that would serve our community in many ways, including during the flooding of 2009.
That brings us to 2010 and THIS WEEKEND! Beginning tomorrow (and in some cases today) 80 churches are to be involved in doing hundreds of ministry projects throughout our community….Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! It is going to be so exciting to see what God does through His church as we get beyond the walls of our buildings and the borders of our campuses and touch people where they are by ministering to real needs…some of people who are part of the body of Christ and others who are not. We’ll be on the campuses of virtually every school in our county. We’ll be at community parks and ball fields, in the homes of widows and single moms, reaching out to families who have a member deployed with the military, in neighborhoods, shopping centers, along streets, community centers, non-profits, wherever there are needs.
We at The Ridge will not have our regular worship gatherings on Sunday, but we WILL be at Austin Middle School on Ridge Road (our regular meeting place), so you can show up on Saturday AND Sunday morning at 9AM and help out. (even if you haven’t signed up yet)We need plenty of extra hands. If you can make it, come on! Look for our Summer Intern, Cris Jackson, and he will get you connected with a project. We will be at two other schools, ball parks, homes in the community, commuity centers as well. If you are attending another church in our area, check with them, they likely are involved!
Ridgers, DON’T FORGET to be at your project Saturday morning and Sunday monring. THEN remember to gather at 7PM behind the Starbucks and in front of Marshall’s in Hiram for an amazing worship celebration with the wole community. I’d get there early too! Bring your own chairs and you can even plan to tailgate with your family! What a weekend this is gonna be!