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WorkDay 2016


For the last several years, Southwood has enjoyed a Saturday morning of fellowship and serving together both on our campus and outside our walls. This year we had people cleaning nursery toys, praying through Lincoln Village, cleaning a yard with the CornerStone Initiative, and making fundraising bracelets for New Beginnings Academy. We do not offer this WorkDay as a chance to cross “serving” off of your list for 2016, and we do not offer it because we wanted to get more pictures of our people serving! Our hope is that volunteers get to glimpse what God is doing through ministries in our communities, or in classrooms down the hall, and celebrate the vastness of God’s kingdom. It is humbling to realize that we, whether individually or corporately, are only a small part in God’s much bigger story of redemption and restoration. It is also incredibly exciting to know that no matter how small our role, there is, in fact, a role for each one of us to play! Our hope is that through this workday participants will see that somewhere in this city there is a person or an organization that needs your unique gifts no matter how seemingly big or small they are.

Karl Pittard served with a group at Lincoln Village, and he shared his response in writing with me and his small group. I am printing it with his permission, because it beautifully captures the heart behind our workday.

There were no shovels at Karl’s worksite; no sore muscles or sweaty team pictures. Instead, Karl and his team spent the morning learning about what GOD has been doing at Lincoln Village over the last 15 years. They spent time in the prayer room, praying specifically for each staff member. They walked through houses under renovation—praying for the residents who moved out and for the residents who will soon move in. They prayed for the new community house, for Alex Shipman who pastors The Village Church, and for the children of Lincoln Academy. They prayed that God would direct the ministry in the best use for an empty lot, and they prayed that God would direct their own hearts about the best use of their personal gifts for God’s kingdom.

“This morning I was assigned to Lincoln Village as part of Southwood’s Work Day to observe, learn, and pray. Having never been there before and humbled by the entire experience, I took some pictures to try to bring you what I learned and my feeling it left me with of hope. It may be old stuff you’ve heard before and yet still fresh and lively.

In summary, there are two thoughts really: (1) I am extremely humbled with what God has blessed me and embarrassed by how little I use of it to give back to His kingdom, and (2) how amazing and encouraging it is that God is using people to do His work by weaving together many organizations and lives to repair our broken state on earth. There are real people dealing with a lot of junk and God’s love is flipping the script. You belong to a REAL church. The table is served with opportunity. I encourage each of you to pray about what that can look like for you. It was cool to get a glimpse of what God is doing, and I am certainly left wanting more.”

One member of Karl’s WorkDay group left the experience sensing that his gifts might be better used for God’s kingdom if he hired a lawn service one-time a month, freeing his morning up to serve at Lincoln Village. Part of this sacrifice is monetary—lawn services aren’t free. Part of his sacrifice is personal comfort—this new opportunity will challenge him emotionally and spiritually as he invests in a hurting community.

Where might God be calling us to make sacrifices that enable us to better use the gifts He’s given us for His kingdom?