A few years ago, a Methodist church in our region heard about a charity working in Kosovo to support widows, many of whom had lost their husbands during the Balkans wars in the 1990s. The widows had very little money to live on, and the winters were extremely cold.
A group of people from the church decided to go out to Kosovo to work with the charity, helping to repair houses and support the widows in practical ways. When this small group returned from Kosovo they shared the story of their experience with the rest of the church. The experience which had affected them began to affect others. Other people from the church wanted to help too and soon lots of people from the church and the wider community started knitting blankets to help keep the widows warm through the winter. A group of women in the church, most of whom were widows themselves, started collecting money to sponsor some of the Kosovan widows, and to provide money for firewood.
The act of risk-taking mission and service undertaken by a handful of members began to influence the rest of the church, changing its culture, its outlook and its priorities.
Think for a moment about your own church. How has a mission initiative or outreach project changed your church? How did you help? How did helping change you?
Today Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge:
Thank you Lord for the community of faith that has not only surrounded me with steadfast love,
but also called me to serve others throughout the world.
Challenge: Learn more about what your congregation does to change lives in your community, your country, and the world, through service and financial support.