Pastor Brian Morehead has a lot on his plate. He’s not exactly dwelling deeply on his serve day t-shirt order.
Serving as Pastor of Global Ministries at The Church at Rocky Peak in Chatsworth, California, Brian is pulled in many directions–each with ever-increasing urgency and significance for the people the church aspires to serve.
Pastor Brian moves from one ministry opportunity to another several times each day. At one moment he’s ordering lumber and collecting volunteers to build a house in the church parking lot. It will then be transported and assembled for a needy family in Mexico. At another moment he’s skyping with partners in Liberia brokering an opportunity for partnership between a church network and Children’s Hunger Fund.
He’s prepping for a mission trip to Ethiopia to preach the Gospel and inspect the water wells the church funded. He’s calling on flights for the “IntoFocus” eyeglass team to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for an evangelistic outreach. The whole world seems to need his attention, and yet his current focus is right here at home.
His primary aim at the moment is coordinating an all-church serve day dubbed “AllServe.” This event will launch 1,200 people into the surrounding community to do what the church should do best–to serve.
Giving – A Demonstration of Love
“AllServe is going to the community with the love of Christ,” Pastor Brian said. It’s showing love unconditionally wherever we can… through acts of service.”
“It’s a demonstration to the community. But it’s also a demonstration to the church that we should be loving our community, that we should be serving our community, with no strings attached. And that demonstration then sets us up, both internally and externally, to glorify God’s name.”
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
Spurred by books like Servolution by Dino Rizzo, Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjorgen and Volunteer Revolution by Bill Hybels, pastors are rediscovering the impact they can have in the community when they stir their congregations to “love in action.” #SERVEday16, a massive, nationwide church serve day, rallied 308 churches. They sent tens of thousands of their members into their cities to love their neighbors all on the same day. They hope to do it again on July 15, 2017 to even greater effect. (Check out SERVEday.today for details.)
Doing What Christ Did – Serving
Even though there’s a lot of work to be done, Pastor Brian cautions against making the tasks the priority. “One of the things that I tell groups is that when you go out there, the number one thing is the relationship with whoever you’re serving. And so if a member of the group is just over there talking to them, they’re working! They’re doing the purpose of the outreach, which is to engage the community.”
As one Rocky Peak volunteer put it, “It’s to show the community that we’re here and that we care about them.”
Another added, “It’s just a way to get out here with family and friends, and serve the community and serve God at the same time.”
Interestingly enough, the aim of AllServe isn’t solely to impact the unchurched in the surrounding neighborhoods. Brian and the rest of the leaders at the church want to impact those who call Rocky Peak their home church.
“We’re not like Christ when we’re learning about Christ,” Pastor Brian said. “We’re like Christ by doing what Christ did.”
“My real goal for AllServe is that they serve all the time–all serve, all the time. The idea is that people find, either in a group setting or individually, ways to serve. And this is just moving them in that direction.”
And that’s exactly what’s happening, one person at a time.
One young man describing AllServe said, “It’s getting to live out a faith that I more often talk about than do,”
“It’s an opportunity to do something where we get nothing out of it, except to please the Lord,” said another.”
Local Missions Validates Global Missions
Churches throughout the U.S. are reinforcing the notion that international missions aren’t the only efforts worthy of service. In fact, service in our immediate communities validates our efforts around the world.
In his book Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper drove the point home. “Foreign missions is a validation of all ministries of mercy at home because it exports them abroad… If we don’t let our light shine before the people at home ‘so that they may see (our) good works and give glory to (our) Father who is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16), what kind of obedience will we export to the nations?”
The results are multiplying for Pastor Brian and the body of believers at Rocky Peak.
“We did years and years of trying to get people to serve. And they would serve here and they would serve there. But it always was like pulling teeth. And now, all the time, I get stories of them finding ways to serve and telling me how they’re serving, and feeling bad if they didn’t serve.”
“So it’s become very much a part of our culture now that you serve and that you’re supposed to serve.”
Influencing the Culture Through Service
In light of current U.S. events, Pastor Brian is encouraged by the way churches across the country are embracing service. “If the culture is going in the opposite way of what we believe in,” he said, “we can still affect it. We can still make a change. We can still be a positive influence. Just know in your heart that it’s not hopeless.”
“We can be different. We can be a light. Go out and serve.”
The believers at The Church at Rocky Peak now see themselves as part of God’s grand purpose to draw the hurting, lonely, and lost to Himself through the work of the local church. “AllServe’s mission,” concluded a Rocky Peak volunteer, “is to be that tangible access to Christians in the community.”
Watch the video of all the amazing things this one group (out of 70!) did for YoungLife during AllServe 2015.
Here at MinistryGear, we’re humbled to play a very small part in the serving work of churches like Rocky Peak. The Serve Day t-shirts your teams wear helps identify them in the community and draws attention to the collective work of the church. In the grocery stores, parks, and gas stations, people recognize the shirt and remember their impact long after the event is over.
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