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6/24/19

Why FaithWorks Might Be My Favorite Week of the Year

It was just three days ago that the ninth edition of FaithWorks (FW) ended. The people who are Faith Community Church volunteered nearly 2,700 hours doing projects at 10 schools, eight city and township buildings and parks, as well as coming alongside six widows and eight single parent homes, to name just a few of the 65 projects completed. We also served a great BBQ lunch to the City of Hudson and the St. Croix County Government workers. Those numbers are important, but I’d love to share some of the other reasons I love the week of FaithWorks.

FaithWorks gets us out into the Valley.

Faith Community’s Vision includes renewing neighborhoods and the Valley. When we mulch and paint playgrounds, spruce up parks and clean the debris from St. Croix River overflow, this area we all share and others come to enjoy, benefit from the face lift. We encounter and serve our neighbors. It helps us fight the gravitational pull of program at our facility, rather than engaging those elsewhere.

FaithWorks allows other gifts to shine.

During FaithWorks, we see people who have incredible skills that usually aren’t on display on Sunday morning. Carpentry, gardening, painting and others, bring joy to our neighbors and grant a sense of contributing to our sense of mission. We see people engaging those we are serving relationally. Through this, we see more of the beauty and genius of the body of Christ.

FaithWorks gives the space to know each other better.

Working side by side and sharing a meal together are very different settings than Sunday morning. We are given the chance to see each other in action, ask questions to get to know each other’s stories and move from acquaintance to friendship. This less formal setting helps us get to know others from a different angle. We are more playful; we tease one another; we start to take relational risks. There are a number of people who FaithWorkers will see differently after they have served together.

FaithWorks allows for intergenerational ministry.

We have parents and children, grandparents and their grandchildren, who serve every year. FW allows men and women to invest in children who aren’t their own in a hands-on environment which often leads to changed perspectives of one another.  

FaithWorks creates opportunity to affirm people who may feel forgotten and alone.

I see this every year in the widows we help, as they continue to assess life without their loved one. Single moms are helped also, some overwhelmed because they chose life when in a difficult situation—and we get to assist them. Our city and county workers rave about the great meal they are served from the public. The feedback they often get is what isn’t working, and the BBQ that is served to them goes a long way.

FaithWorks gives us the chance to share up to 14 meals together!

Our cracker jack kitchen crew arrives at 5:30 each morning, and a hot, delicious breakfast is served at 7:00 a.m. to empower our day. We also pack a lunch and then can come for a 5:30 p.m. dinner to wrap up our day. Each of these meals represents a chance to get to know each other better. Between a hard day of work and the meals, we are able to detach from our normal rhythms, to be present with one another, and the bond between brothers and sisters in Christ can run deeper.

FaithWorks dispels myths about the church.

There are a significant amount of people who view the church as an insulated club that doesn’t care for those outside their “holy huddle.” FW makes it clear that the church exists for others in addition to those on the inside. One woman who was in a pinch financially, and wasn’t sure how to address what had taken place. She didn’t realize a friend had nominated the work and the church supplied both the materials and the labor free of charge. FW shows care and generosity that many don’t expect and it reframes their understanding of the church.

FaithWorks makes us look a little more like Jesus.

The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). When we serve others, we reflect the greatest of all who became the servant of all. In the end this is what is means to be a disciple:to follow in the way of Jesus and reflect Him in our lives.

I could go on with more reasons. As usual, I end the week tired and happy. I am so very thankful for the many people who took vacation and rearranged their lives to love their neighbors. I am so very humbled to call Faith Community my family of families.

Larry Szyman

Pastor for Missional Life

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