Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sucker punch from the pastor

I could literally feel the tension in the building this weekend at Ridge Church. It was thick! We finished up part two of the "NOW" series (click HERE to listen) and I believe it will be a day that people will remember and be marked by.

The question we were asking: "What is it in us or in our culture that allows us to see extreme need or hurt, YET give ourselves permission not to be part of the solution?"

I contacted a friend that most people at our church wouldn't know and asked him to dress up as a homeless man and stand on the corner right in the middle of our church signs and just see how people would respond. Some pretended not to see him, some drove past as their husband or wife encouraged them to stop. Others inconvenienced themselves and made it their #1 priority to help him. We intentionally did not tell anyone--even our leaders--so that every one could feel the moment. One of our host team captains spent the better part of the worship service hunting for him to give him a bag of supplies. Not sure it was funny to him at the moment:-)

THEN...at the end of both worship services as we prepared to close I said I want to introduce you to a friend of mine and brought him out on the stage for a two minute interview. The minute he stepped onto the stage in both services an anxious murmur went through the crowd. It was a collective "Oh my..." moment. Kind of a sucker punch, I'll admit! My wife said the man next to her put his head in his hands, smiled and said "Oh, no...my wife told me to stop and I wouldn't do it." As it turns out he wasn't the only one. The stories have been coming in for two days now of what people experienced. Some really funny responses and some pretty sobering ones.

Truthfully, when we as people have the capacity to help yet give ourselves permission not to be part of the solution there is something about our heavenly Father that we have grossly misunderstood. I am praying that God would begin a revolution of generosity among our people and believe it is happening. Want to be a part? Here are four ways to help:

1) Donate Money: We are attempting to raise $10,000 to meet the needs of people in extreme poverty in our city. 100% of the proceeds go directly to provide for families and people in need. Every dollar makes a difference. Simply Write "Now Project" in the memo line and Send checks to:
Ridge Church
P.O. Box 1853

Indian Trail, N.C. 28079

2) Fill a "Winter Survival Bag": More about that in my post HERE. We want to give out at least 200 winter survival bags to people preparing to spend the winter on the streets. (I really think we can give out 300! We ran out of bags last week)

3) Collect in your neighborhood: We have bundles of door hangers with all the appropriate information for you to do a collection in your neighborhood. Even if you can't give a ton of $$ you can give your time to involving others in this process. If you would like a stack of these door hangers email your request to us: info@ridgechurch.net

4.) Sign up to Serve: November 7th we have three phases of the actual "NOW Project". That morning we will decorate and pack at least 200 lunches (hopefully more) and finish organizing our supplies. Mid-day we will distribute lunches, survival packs, coats, etc to the homeless in down town Charlotte. Afternoon our community groups will deliver groceries, clothes, etc to 10 families in Matthews Area. Send an email to info@ridgechurch.net and say "Sign me up" or sign up at the Guest Services area on Sunday morning and one of our project managers will contact you with more details.

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