This past Sunday the congregation I serve, along with two other churches that are only a couple of hundred feet from us, joined together after morning worship to put on the first block party in our neighborhood.
We were able, to my surprise, to close one block of the main east-west street in front of our church for several hours. And there was some anxiety as to if the weather would hold (it did for three hours before rain fell from the sky).
As people came for worship the grills began to collect in the side yard of our church and by Noon they were making the familiar and mouth watering smells that grills make. Over 400 hamburgers and hot dogs were cooked and most of them were consumed by the time we shut down.
I had fun. I cooked some burgers and dogs (and got slightly singed in the process), I played for the praise team (a stage had been set up to allow musicians from the three churches to perform and they were ALL very good!), I got to meet and shake the hands of some our neighbors, and I got to sweep up some cheese puffs in the middle of the street. And I was re initiated into some old games that we played many decades ago in youth groups and camps.
I was not in charge.
Our associate pastor had the idea and I said, “Go for it.” And he did.
But while he and representatives of the two other churches gave the overall leadership to the event, many others from all three churches made things happen that one or two persons could not do. It was wonderful to see members of all three churches simply helping each other throughout the day.
I like to think that they were empowered to give leadership and service to the event not just by me but by one another. And the result was a success where three churches came together to make connections and over two hundred people showed up! I also believe that it made a very important statement to our neighborhood.
I am now waiting for someone else to come and say, “Pastor Jim, I would like…”
I hope to be able to say, “Go for it!”