On Sunday morning, March 25th, the pews will be empty at Lake Highlands United Methodist Church and the pipe organ in the sanctuary will be eerily silent. But don’t expect the congregation to be home snoozing – they’ll be out serving. They’ve cancelled regular worship services and called their entire membership to spend the day completing 15 community service projects around the neighborhood. The event is called “Here to Serve.”
“We are committed to improving lives, supporting families and building community,” says Senior Pastor John Thornton. Projects are as varied as creating tray favors for hospital patients to landscaping area parks to washing windows at local retirement homes to collecting cans for nearby food banks. “Our Here to Serve projects are simply one more way to help our members understand that church is what we are, not just something we go to,” says program Co-Chair Tammy Knapp. (You can get a full listing of projects with details here, and you can choose one you like and sign up to help.)
Some activities, like serving Gatorade to runners at the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon or singing to retirees, are family-friendly, meaning you can bring your children 5 years and up. Younger children can spend time at the church with childcare provided.
“We get a chance to all come together and accomplish huge tasks that we can’t do without everyone in our church pitching in,” says Jill Goad, Director of Serving Ministry. The church considers the event active outreach, welcoming non-members to participate. “It’s not enough to go to church,” says Steve Kincheloe in this Youtube video made to promote the event, “Christ did not call us to a life of leisure, he called us to a life of service.”