By Bob Coons, pastor of Journey Fellowship, Owensboro
Today we introduce Journey Fellowship to the community with our Neighbor2Neighbor Project. It features eight different service projects: trash pick-up, food collection, some building projects, and two laundromat projects. Sixty volunteers gather for a short devotion, organize into service teams, don brightly colored “Journey Fellowship” T-shirts, and scatter throughout the neighborhood.
I'm surprised by the turn out. I assumed the community service would engender positive feelings about Journey Fellowship, and they did. But it was not the receiving of services; it was the opportunity to serve—to give of themselves, that attracted more than double the number of volunteers we expected.
Jeff and Jill heard about our day of service and wanted to volunteer. They stopped at the church, and were promptly dispatched to a laundromat with a coffee can full of quarters. That's where we meet them. My wife and I are driving to the various work sites to visit with workers, take pictures, and hear stories. We pull up to the laundromat. Two people are seated outside the door wearing “Journey Fellowship” T-shirts. Surprisingly, neither of us recognize them. We introduce ourselves.
“This is what churches are supposed to do,” declares Jill excitedly. “Thank you for letting us help. We've only had a couple of customers so far, but this is awesome. See that lady over there? When we told her that we were paying for her laundry, she got tears in her eyes. She explained that she was having to choose between washing clothes and getting her brakes fixed.”
“I told her she didn't have to choose, anymore” said Jeff, “and I offered to fix her brakes, too.”
All day the stories we hear are similar. People seem drawn by the opportunity to do something good for their neighbors. Three boys pull their bikes into the church parking lot, asking if they can “come to this church and serve people.” A lady completely fills a shopping cart with items for our food pantry. A man practically camps out at the church to help ready the building for our grand opening. And when Journey Fellowship opens for worship, our attendance is nearly doubled. Apparently, giving people a chance to serve is a key ingredient to a successful re-start.
Journey Fellowship is a re-launch of the former Seven Hills Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Neighbor2Neighbor Project was patterned after Operation In As Much.
For more information:
Journey Fellowship - www.NotUrGmasChurch.com or call Bob Coons 270-315-9028
Operation Inasmuch - www.operationinasmuch.com or call David Crocker 865-922-0791