Serving does the heart good.

This past Monday (July 4th) we had a group of Waterwatermark servemarkers gather together to serve the city of Ferrysburg. We helped with the 4th of July picnic. The city puts on a free family-friendly fun party to celebrate. They were calling for volunteers and a Watermarker saw the need and rallied a bunch of us to help.  We had a blast and we had an opportunity to be a blessing to the organizers.

I personally found my heart come alive in the midst of the serving. I had the privilege of hanging out with Jeremy Hower and helping kids with the bounce house. Here are some of the reasons my heart came alive through this serving experience:

  • This was organized and championed by a Watermarker who is not on our staff team. She heard about the need and led the charge and did an amazing job communicating and organizing!  Way to go Christine!!!
  • We didn’t dream up our own event, we simply added willing hands and good attitudes to an existing event in need of volunteers.  The organizers of the event are great people and it was a joy to work alongside them.
  • I had a lot of great opportunities to meet all kinds of new people and chat. As an extrovert this filled up by batteries. As a missionary to West Michigan it was a reminder of all the different people in our community we are summoned to love in Jesus’ name.
  • This serve event took place in the community that we are starting another Watermark gathering site. We already have people living and working there, but I was thankful to practically serve and connect with more people in the community before starting any gatherings there. It gave me greater passion to join other churches in seeing people experience life with Jesus.
  • Everyone had a great attitude. I was so proud of all those who participated! We wore t-shirts that said, “sent on mission”, but I was more thankful that I saw people lovingly living it out.
  • I got to see my kids jump in and serve. I desire for my family to be people who look to help others and not merely look at ourselves. This opportunity sparked conversations in our family about what we value, why we serve, and being the presence of Jesus.

So I thank God for the chance to participate in a small way to His big Kingdom movement and I thank Him for breathing joy into my heart. I pray God will keep my eyes and heart open to the moments He brings me to serve others.

How about you?  Where might you have an opportunity to join in and discover the joy of serving others?

Grrrrreat!

This past weekend was Easter weekend.  This is the weekend we celebrate that everything changed – that renewal and restoration of all things is on the march!

Typically Easter weekend is a time to gather to celebrate, but thanks to an amazing team of leaders we were able to also serve our community practically.

On Saturday, the day before our Easter celebration, a huge group of Watermarkers served 101 family units a warm meal, gave helpful give-aways, listened to people’s stories, had fun with kids, handed out personal care items, and also provided a food truck with fresh food.

This day was a smashing success because:

  • We were able to make personal connections with people who found themselves in need of a hand.  It wasn’t just about the stuff – people listened, cared, and shared time together.
  • Watermarkers led the way.  Under the fantastic leadership of Becky Staal, our InCommunity ninja, Watermarkers stepped up and gave leadership to all the key areas.  They did a tremendous job and many of the folks receiving assistance commented on how well things went.
  • New Watermarkers served.  I saw a lot of newer faces serving!  It wasn’t the just the same committed crew.
  • Practical needs were able to be met!  Personal care items, medicine, food, and even gas cards were able to be utilized to bring hope.  Thanks to all the Watermarkers who generously helped make that happen!
  • We were able to be the presence of Jesus!

I feel like our faith family is at our best when we are looking beyond ourselves and banding together to offer relationship, hope, and service to folks in our community.  This “Great Saturday” made “Easter Sunday” all that more special as we celebrated the fact that Jesus is alive and His Kingdom is repairing all things!

Thanks to all who participated!

Servant is… as servant does.

Being an apprentice of Jesus means taking on the role of a servant.  So, how can we get started in being on God’s mission through serving in our context?  What can we practically do today to show God’s love with no strings attached?

Sandi, a woman from our faith family, would bring joy as she served the under-resourced in the Laundry Hub (place for folks to do their laundry for free) by bringing milkshakes for everyone.  She had a milkshake ministry and when she arrived people smiled.  Maybe someday Jesus will say to Sandi, (like Matthew 25 says,)

“Sandi, people in the Laundry Hub were having a rough day, but you took the time to buy them a milkshake and make them smile.  Whatever you did for them, you really did for me.  Well done.  PS – I like Strawberry best.”

Here are some small things we can do with great love to help bring change to the world:

  • Buy a stranger’s cup of coffee.
  • Help someone with their yard work or home project.
  • Send an encouraging note to someone who may often go unnoticed.
  • Invite a neighbor over for a meal or coffee.
  • Invite someone sitting alone at a lunch table to sit with you.
  • Take a day and look for opportunities to ask, “How can I help?”
  • Choose to pray for someone regularly.
  • Call your faith community, school, or community organization as ask where you can serve.
  • Really listen to someone and understand without having to blurt out your thoughts.
  • Forgive someone.
  • Clean up an area that isn’t your responsibility.
  • Give something away.
  • When you hear of a practical need – seek to meet it.

What practical ideas do you have to practically be a blessing?