Ready or not, for those of us with school-age children, here comes the start of school. Students start back (for our city) on August 13th, and teacher’s report even earlier than that. Regardless of whether the idea of kids returning to class makes you a bit sad (or perhaps even secretively giddy?) this upcoming transition does provide us with some excellent opportunities to live as purposeful missionaries within our neighborhood relational networks. What follows is a simple list of 5 ways to leverage this upcoming season for the sake of Gospel advancement by plugging in relationally and by serving sacrificially.
1. Hoover Dad Brigade (Saturday, August 1st, 6:45am – 1:00pm)
Dads, grandads, men, here’s your chance to serve the city of Hoover while getting to know other neighboring dads and granddads. This will be a work day where we meet up with other men from around the city and serve our local elementary schools.
Click here for more info and for sign-up
2. Church Cookout (Friday, August 7th, 6:00pm until)
This will be an opportunity to wrap up our Summer Community Groups while reconnecting with everybody who we have missed during the busy travel season of summer. This will also be a great opportunity to invite any new neighbors you have met over the summer to come and hang out together! Burgers and hotdogs will be provided by the church. Feel free to bring a side or a dessert to share! Contact email@example.com for more info.
3. Back to School
Remember, for those who have kids in our local schools, God has sovereignly placed your family where you are, not simply so that your children can get a good education, but so that your family might live as missionaries where you are. So at your school’s “Back To School” or “Meet the Teacher” events, make it a point to purposefully connect with one or two new families and then follow up with an invitation for playdates or even dinner! Simply being aware of these opportunities can help us live as missionaries in the areas of life where we are already spending time and energy.
4. UAB Cookout (Thursday, August 27th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm)
We have been invited to join with CRU at UAB for their “Back to School Cookout”. The need is for folks to man the grill, serve the food, and to simply sit and get to know these students, many of whom are here from other nations and have never been around Christians living in a gospel-centered community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
5. Labor Day (Monday, September 7th)
Have your family (or better yet, get your entire Community Group involved) and plan a fun back yard cookout that you can invite all those new folks you are meeting to join in!
And lastly, just a few reminders:
- Remember: It is the Kingdom of God that we are pursuing.
And as such, we pursue the kingdom that God describes in His Word, not the one we feel will make us the most comfortable. According to Scripture, the Kingdom of God is not a mono-cultural (or more bluntly, a “mono-chromatic” body). As we read through Scripture (places like Galatians 2, Ephesians 2, Revelation 7 come to mind) we see that God is calling to himself a diverse people from every nation, tribe, people and language. I mean, the leadership of the church in Antioch alone is so diverse that there are 2 guys from Africa, one from the Mediterranean, one from the Middle East and another from Asia Minor! All that to say, the church has never been called to build a kingdom that looks “just like us”. As a people who are under the authority of God’s Word, we must pursue the Kingdom that God’s Word describes.
- Remember: We are not inviting people into community simply for the sake of “community”.
We do all that we do for the sake of the Gospel. We pursue relationship with neighbor so that we can share the grace and mercy found in Jesus Christ alone. So while every dinner invitation does not have to be accompanied by an evangelistic presentation or a guided Bible study, we do desire to share the person of Jesus and the good news of the Gospel message with those whom God is sovereignly placing in our paths.
- Remember: Cover all that we do in prayer.
If we are not constantly and consistently inviting the Holy Spirit to direct and fill all that we do, then we are simply engaging in more Christian “activities”. As followers of Jesus, we are not called to “activism”, but rather to “be disciples who make disciples”.