Pew to 50K
There is a beautiful dialogue that takes place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit where the Wizard Gandalf is talking about the evil force of his land and says “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love...” I just love this image. I think it emphasizes the power of our ordinary acts of faith and love that we do every day. The hope made manifest in our Lord Jesus Christ can be made manifest by participating in ordinary acts of kindness, service, and love.
When we measured our Outreach last year, I was struck by how much St. Stephen’s 12,000+ hours of service really impacted our greater Birmingham community. In addition to service, there is so much more we do that shapes our own Christian identity and the world around us. Something beautiful happens over time when we show up for church, or when we read a devotional with a friend or loved one. Something beautiful happens when, over a year or a lifetime, we study scripture with friends or meet regularly for prayer or formation. Those simple little actions build upon each other and shape a community over time. Showing up to serve at Community Kitchen or Laundry Love may not feel like that big of a deal, but it is acts of kindness and love like these that are powerfully transforming our world. Can you imagine how our community could grow if we committed to 50,000 hours of growth together?
I am eager to share with you our 2019 PEW to 50K Campaign: Read, Pray, Serve. It will be exciting to see what will happen if Saint Stephen’s commits to 50,000 hours of worshiping, of growing through Christian Formation, and sharing our love through service in 2019.
Does 50,000 hours sound daunting? Don’t worry. The church staff will count all activities at Saint Stephen’s for you. We will count attendance at Bible studies, prayer groups, organized outreach projects, and worship on Sunday. However, we also know that your growth is not contained to Saint Stephen’s alone. When you read a spiritual book or study Scripture at home, or serve at a food pantry or local mission, please let us know by clicking on the this link which will also be in the weekly E-News.
In 2 Timothy Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The race is won not by big huge acts, rather your ordinary acts of faith and love that we do every day. The hope made manifest in our Lord Jesus Christ can be made manifest in ordinary acts of kindness, service, and love that we participate in. Together, we are learning to run the race.
I can’t wait to see how PEW to 50K will help us grow in our Christian identity together. Come to church, go to a formation offering, spend time in prayer, serve the community and join Saint Stephen’s as we grow in our faith on this PEW to 50K journey.
The Rev. John B. Burruss