The Equipper Newsletter
September 20, 2012
Churches Equipping Saints for Service
 The Church has Left the Building
Imagine your sanctuary as it looks when people are worshipping on a typical Sunday. Now picture all those people leaving the building. But this time they're not going home or out for brunch. Instead, they're heading out to serve in the community. That's the idea of "The Church has Left the Building," a new and growing method for church-wide service projects.
Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, was our first "left the building" experience at St. Peter Lutheran in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Our worship service began at 8:30 am and ended about 9:15. By 9:30, one group was at work assembling gift bags that would be given to Meals on Wheels recipients. Another was stuffing envelopes for an organization that mentored working families through financial crisis. A third group was working on a food drive for our community food pantry. By 10:00, others had arrived at a nearby forest preserve, a park with many natural areas, where one group of kids and adults was picking up litter and an all-adult group was hacking away at a thicket of buckthorn, a stubbornly-invasive plant in our area. Another group was at a no-kill animal shelter, filing and cleaning and organizing supplies, freeing their regular volunteers for more time with the animals. All these projects ended by noon.

It certainly was a fun and exciting morning: good turnout, lots of energy & enthusiasm. But in addition to the fun, we had some substantive goals. (Continue)

Click here for rest of the article, including the goals and "what we learned."
 More on Serving in the Community
I highly recommend the book The Externally-Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson. They've also writtten a follow-up book and small group study on the same topic. See also the Externally-Focused Network website. This group gives both theological foundations and practical advice for good deeds and good news going hand in hand.
Also available: Sacred and Secular Volunteering, a 2009 article I wrote on the challenges and advantages of churches working with secular volunteer organizations in their community.
 Good Stuff

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources