By Rev. David Sprang, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission
On Sunday, September 12, 2021 many folks across the ELCA will wear their “God’s Work. Our Hands.” shirts out into the public arena as they serve others. A noble endeavor to serve the community. And many will hope that others read their t-shirts and they will know who it is that is doing the work and why they do it.
But what if? What if we also tell them who we are, why we serve, and listen to hear about their lives, their stories, their faith, their joys and their sorrows?
When Jesus sends the disciples out for the first time in Matthew 10 he says: “Go to the lost sheep and tell them ‘The Kingdom of God has come near’”. Think about ways your congregation’s “God’s Work. Our Hands.” project will let people know the Kingdom of God has come near.
Here is a beginning list of ideas – and I hope you might add to it:
- Take worship to where you are serving – a nursing home, park, with first responders, etc.
- Listen to the people being served – listen to joys and sorrows, laments and COVID struggles
- Bless people – find ways to pronounce a blessing upon the people being served
- Invite friends or other family members to serve with you
- Ask those being served or those serving with you: What can we pray for?
- Hold a Welcome Event after God’s Work Sunday and invite all the people you encountered on September 12 to come to the event
- Ask people to tell you their faith journey story – find ways to invite them into further conversations
- Recruit a listening team to accompany workers so some are working/serving and others are listening to those being served
- Ask those being served what they think are things the church should be doing to help the community
- Keep the list going…
Talk about Jesus. Invite folks into conversation. Listen to their stories. Be transformed!