At SVCC, we try to funnel the majority of our local mission efforts to show gospel love and speak gospel truth through our community groups. As these close communities of believers study God’s Word and share life together, they also seek to serve and communicate the gospel to their community. Our goal in local mission is not to create massive church-wide events to try and attract people to our campus, but to commission and empower our own faith family members to take the gospel into the communities in which they live. This blog might give you a fuller picture of what this looks like: click here.
So the best way to get involved in local mission at SVCC is to become connected to a community group (more info here). Yet, there are a few things in which our whole body regularly participates:
There is a small food pantry located in the foyer of SVCC that is regularly stocked by our faith family. Anyone is welcome to bring food or take food as needed. This also helps us meet the needs of many people who drop in during the week seeking assistance. If you would like to be more involved in organizing/stocking the food pantry, contact Josh McClung (email@example.com).
There are always needs being brought to the attention of the SVCC leadership, both from within our body and from outside of it. The Mission and Mercy team works very hard to assess these needs and help out of our benevolence fund as much as possible. If you are interested in being a part of this team or would like more information on how you can help/contribute directly to meeting benevolence needs, contact Josh McClung (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Groceries for GreenSprings Sunday
A few times a year we cut our Sunday morning service short and our entire church family goes to various grocery stores in our area. Why? In order to help stock the GreenSprings food pantry! GreenSprings is a wonderful local ministry and we partner with them in their hunger relief efforts. For more information concerning Groceries for GreenSprings Sunday contact Michelle Blackwood (email@example.com).
West Homewood Farmer’s Market
The West Homewood Farmer’s Market is an initiative that was birthed out of an SVCC community group. There are many goals of the Farmer’s Market, but one primary purpose is to create an environment in which authentic relationships and community may be formed. For more information on the Farmer’s Market visit westhomewood.com or to volunteer contact Kenyon Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org).
West Homewood Community Exchange
The West Homewood Community Exchange is another initiative birthed out of an SVCC community group. It is a time bank where you can invest “hours” by using your talents to serve others and then spend “hours” by allowing others to meet some needs you may have. Not only can this simply be helpful, but it also connects people within the community in a way that values everyone. For more information on the Community Exchange visit westhomewood.com or contact Rick Kittinger (email@example.com).
*A note about how SVCC approaches local mission. Taken from Pastor Jonathan’s end of the year letter, 2014. The entire letter may be read here.
I often am asked what Shades does to minister in our city. Through these kinds of questions, I feel like people are looking for miraculous testimonies of “big things” done by an organization. I tell them that I don’t have those kinds of stories to share. What I have is much more mundane. If you want to know what Shades does, then I have to tell you stories about people… because Shades is people.
I tell stories about families going through adoption classes in hopes of bringing home children who have no home… stories of people who have designed city-wide events to connect with others in their profession who don’t know Christ. I talk about college students who have consistently, graciously shared the Gospel with their exchange-student roommates. I speak of people who share weekly meals with the Birmingham houseless community… of people fighting sex trafficking, others ministering to nomads, and some who are foster parents. I talk about how I’ve seen people pour into one another’s lives over coffee or give counsel around their kitchen counter… or how I’ve seen brothers and sisters in the faith hold each other through tears and joys…through deaths, weddings, and births.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what “Shades” does, because Shades is made up of a couple hundred missionaries who come together week after week to pray, love, support, disciple one another, and then go into various sectors of our city and minister in all sorts of ways.
All this happens through the mundane. Through normal people, empowered by the Holy Spirit, daily living out their faith. It’s not flashy. It’s simple-faithfulness. And, in truth, it’s not mundane… it is actually miraculous. If I have learned anything in my time at Shades… it is that the mundane is precisely where our God loves to work his miraculous power so that it is obviously his work. He gets the glory and we get the joy!