At Grace in the Heights, we are NEIGHBORS BY CALL. We are an incarnation of Christ in the present for the people of the Heights area and the neighborhoods in which we live. It isn’t an easy time to be a good neighbor. Research has been telling us for years that Americans are becoming increasingly polarized, especially around political issues. In an environment of uncertainty and distrust, it is more important than ever for the church to be a constant witness to the grace of God of all.
That witness isn’t just about what we preach or the programs we run in our buildings. The greatest witness any congregation offers is how its members treat others day in and day out. When everyone is stressed and disconnected, a ministry of kindness can go a long way. Recently, we welcomed a new group onto campus to use the Fellowship Hall a couple of nights a week. Initially, they were very nervous because some have had very negative experiences of church. It took a month of conversations and a site visit before they decided to try meeting here. When one of the leaders was visiting, his consistent comment was, “Ya’ll are so nice.” I’m proud of that; I think it is consistent with who Grace is and is striving to be. I am sad that it came in such a tone of surprise.
Too often, when people who do not attend church are asked to describe Christians, the first word is not kind, or generous, or gracious, or loving; it's judgemental. One of the greatest witnesses we can offer to the world around us right now simple kindness.
In August, our worship series is called Love Your Neighbor, and along with it, we, as a congregation, are taking up a challenge. I’m asking each household to try and do 30 acts of kindness in 30 days. They don’t have to be big things. Just try to brighten the day of your neighbors, friends, associates, and the workers you come in contact with daily. To help you out, we’re posting a list of 30 ideas on our website, and we’ll highlight one each day on our social media. You can check out graceintheheights.org/neighbors for these and other ways to share kindness.
This is an excellent opportunity to focus on winsome faith, make a positive impression on your world, and maybe even encourage someone else to try the church. Stress will only rise over the next few weeks as school resumes and hot days continue. Join me in a little kindness evangelism to make life brighter.