Do Something Today

     Recently our congregation participated in our second annual Do Something day immediately following a shortened Sunday service.  Since arriving at First Church of God five years ago, lead pastor David Colp has had a heart for community transformation within the overriding vision of transforming lives through Christ.  A thousand or more members of all ages spread out through the area working on a wide variety of projects last year and again this year.  We were asked to keep track of all the hours we volunteered over the course of the year (something I didn't do well) as we reached for over 50,000 hours, near $1,000,000 in time and talent donations to the area.  Treasure gets donated as well by many, but that's a different story and not different from many congregations of varied but common theology.

2011 Team
     I had the honor of leading a group working at the United Way of Southwest Michigan (UWSM) both years. We did landscaping work, improving the grounds, trimming trees and bushes, planting flowers, etc with volunteers ranging from age 5 to near 70.  From amongst the congregation members worked with over 30 organizations, mostly in poorer areas in the community including Benton Harbor Senior Services, McCord School, Hospice, the Michigan Migrant Ministry, Salvation Army, EP Clark School Readiness Center, the Red Cross and others.  New relationships were formed, and as with last year, individuals find they have passions for changing lives beyond the one day.

2012 Team

     As our team was nearing the end of the work, particularly for those with young children we went inside for a moment of conversation and prayer.  Two boys, 8 and 10 asked what it was United Way did.  The Executive Director Anna Murphy, whom I helped hire as Board Chair years ago gave a very detailed answer about health, education and income, the three core areas focused on by most local United Ways (they are not all identical by any means). Having served with this particular organization since 1994, when she finished giving the adult answer, I gave the short answer.  "United Way helps other people do what Jesus did:  Teach and heal others who have need." 

Miles McPherson
     Do Something is part of the vision of former San Diego Chargers defensive back Miles McPherson, now the senior pastor at The Rock church in the same community.  Like Augustine, Miles life wasn't exactly scriptural prior to his transformation.  That's probably true for most of us.  The book is not a difficult read and additionally there are Cd's, DVD's and program guidelines for implementing the philosophy in your organization or congregation. I find this example of living out scripture in how we treat and care for those less fortunate much more effective than the WWJD movement of a number of years ago, but that's just my opinion.

    As someone who's been given a number of volunteer of the year awards  I've always had a heart to make a positive difference in the lives of those God puts in front me.  Doing something positive to make an impact in anyone's life isn't a once a year kind of thing, it's a daily philosophy of being open to opportunities to serve humanity.  An external locus of control rather than internal.  Society over self.

     I had the opportunity Sunday to meet a young man currently volunteering with AmeriCorps for a year here at UWSM.  He was a freshman when our middle son was a senior, and talked about how much he'd looked up to our son during that year as someone who helped others in the football program and around school.

     Apparently the years as a father serving others rubbed off somewhat.  I was speaking to our older sons today before they fly to Afghanistan this week to serve for a year. I shared the (now graduated) freshman's story and his comments.  Our son's response was:  It's my goal in life to leave the world a better place than when I arrived, on a daily basis.  To make a positive difference in as many lives as I can. 

     By Jove, I think he's got it. We develop community one person at a time, moment by moment, together building the world we envision over the one we exist in.  After all, we are one community regardless of geography.

Recommended readings besides Do Something and the Bible 

If you've never listened to Krista Tippett's On Being radio program, try her Ted Talk on compassion below.   Today's a perfect day to start doing something.

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