Skip Church And Go Help Your Neighbor
By John Livingston Clark
For several years the church I attend cancelled services one Sunday per year. It was called Service on Sunday, or S.O.S. The purpose was to live out our faith by doing projects for our neighbors and within the community. Here is how it worked.
The pastor compiled a list of projects for which people could sign up. This included having someone volunteer to be a “crew chief.” These projects consisted of things such as painting a fence, weeding a yard, general cleanup, ministering in a nursing home, leading a “children’s church” in a poor part of town, giving out bibles door to door, and the list could go on and on. As the day approached we obtained T-shirts that said, “Don’t Go To Church. Be The Church.” On that particular Sunday we all gathered in the church lobby for a time of prayer. We then left to our respective projects with any necessary tools and resources for the job at hand. As the day progressed, if one group had a job that didn’t take as long we went and helped another group.
In the late afternoon we met back at the church for a potluck. During a time of fellowship we watched photos by a photographer in our church body who had gone around and taken candid shots of the different groups at work. This made a very positive impact in our community, including city hall. There were people who asked why we were doing this. It was a great time to have a testimony in our neighborhoods and to show the love of God.
Imagine what could happen if every church cancelled services just once a year and went into the community to serve. It is a fun and easy way to live out one’s faith. I recently read in a book that there are 340,000 individual congregations in the United States. Let’s be on the super low end of the attendance spectrum and say that each church has 50 members. That would equal 17 million people, not including megachurches. This many people out of the church pews and into the community could change this country and transform lives. And what if each church gave just 20 dollars to help the homeless and hungry? That would equal $6, 800,000. So, skip church and go help your neighbor. Talk to your pastor or priest about it.