This Missional Moment

It's Saturday morning. For the Food Bank volunteers, that means arriving as early as 6:30a to begin preparations. By this time, cars have already been lined up hoping to be near the front of the line. Food is being unloaded off the truck, traffic cones are being carefully placed, and a swarm of volunteers are organizing bags of food for the community. Since my last post, it has become quite a spectacle. The call for Anthem Church to rally has been answered. Cars from all over the county line up and down the Lincoln hill waiting for a meager, but necessary, bag of groceries. It is both a sign of the times and an opportunity for the Gospel, like never before.

My job each week is to keep the parking lot in order and organize the volunteers who direct traffic. It's not a sexy job, by any means, albeit a necessary one. We now need walkie-talkies to communicate, as well as hand-held traffic signs and safety vests to do our jobs.The real heroes, however, are people like Patrick Greer who rescued the Food Bank from obscurity and certain demise when the need was no longer visible to the rest of us. People like Dee Lacerda who have made serving marginalized people on Saturday mornings their second home.  People like Keturah Fluno who used her birthday as a day to serve others, rather than herself (see my post about birthdays). People like Angela Butcher, a single-mother who prioritizes the difficult logistics so she can be present to serve. People like The Nadendlas, The Mohans, The Beemans, my daughter and son and so many more!  All who wear masks/gloves, work the frontline, organize food and look people in the eyes each week. Some, no doubt, embarrassed to find themselves needing our help.

But there's another facet we, perhaps, are not considering.  This missional moment.

This Saturday I will add a new friend to my growing need of volunteers, directing traffic. This is in addition to the two who have already been coming the last few weeks. And while that might not sound like news, what makes this important is that none of them are Christians. None of them know Jesus. Like I said...this missional moment. The Coronavirus has, in a strange way, confirmed what I suspected to be true. What I have been preaching for 11 years at Anthem:

  1. When the distractions and noise of cultural progress are removed, the Church is still seen as a necessary good in the world.
  2. Nonbelievers are willing to intersect with us in that good despite any worldview differences.

Maybe you're wondering what innovative strategy I used? What cutting-edge approach I employed? What social media platform I engaged them with? It was simple: I asked. We cannot underestimate the power of a personal, direct invitation into the work of the local church. Especially right now. Especially in this season. God has worked out for good, in this season of loss, a missional gain (Rom. 8:28).

If you haven't  been involved in the Food Bank because of conscience/health reasons, please continue to exercise your conscience accordingly. HOWEVER, if your uninvolvement is the result of indifference, laziness, or you're just enjoying isolation, I would challenge you in two ways:
  1. Join us in meaningful work, to meet real needs, that will leave you feeling used by God and connected physically to the local church (rather than just digitally).
  2. Don't waste this missional moment. Pick up the phone and invite someone personally to volunteer with you. Let them see the glory of the local church serving as Jesus intended. 

If you would like to get on the Food Bank volunteer rotation, click below.
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1 Comment

Maria Garcia - May 8th, 2020 at 11:52am

Good morning Patrick, I am working starting this coming Saturday on the county warm line. For the time being I will not be able to help with the food bank. Everyone is so orgainized and doing a great job. It breaks my heart to see so many people in need. I will continue to serve as needed.


Maria Garcia