Theological reflection proved to be one of the significant formative exercises during my time in seminary. Professors pressed students to “think theologically.” Case studies presented during a Christian Ministry course exposed us to the complexities of pastoral ministry. After reading the conversation between a chaplain and a terminal patient we were asked to write a “theological reflection” paper exploring the themes present in the conversation.
These written exercises combined with hospital visits and conversations with my mentor Dr. Davis illustrate how we are often formed after serving. In other words, thinking about “what we just experienced” forces us to connect our thinking about God and life in intense ways.
One year ago our church, Snow Hill, made a shift in thinking and practice. Spurred by the transforming experience of feeding people living on the streets in OKC and attempting to answer the question “In what way have we impacted our community with the Kingdom of God?”, we set aside the kind of thinking that suggests when the Christians meet at church is is “for us.” The practical aspect meant changing the structure of one of our meeting times.Time is elusive. Traditional churches tend to think of their meeting schedule as offering times “for” them. So when the pace of life picks up and needs to serve the community become important members and attenders are asked to commit “another” day they do not have to serve others. Snow Hill determined that to expect formation without accompanying actions is ineffective. The result, “Wednesdays Are for Others.”
One year ago we opened a Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, and began an After School Program. We expanded our “fellowship meal” to a “community meal.” We continue to press ahead to open a Free Medical Clinic. Our youth deliver about twenty meals to folks who cannot easily leave their homes. The aftermath has given us the occasion to “re-think” why God located us along Highway 37 between Tuttle and Tri-City. Our conviction is to serve in the name of Jess.
In celebration of this one year and in anticipation of the “greater things that lie ahead,” Brad, our Youth Minister worked with Nathan, our Associate Pastor for Community Ministries to produce a video. You may find this video at the Snow Hill website and on our YouTube channel (in its very early stages). Take a look. Leave a comment about the ways you and your church serve your community/neighborhood.
(I will showcase this video here as next week’s Monday video.)