Yesterday was my first Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, TN. I had been in the office last week getting settled in as well. All I can say is that I’m stoked to be back in full time Youth Ministry and to be here at GFC!
My 1st Sunday here was quite an experience. For the past 3 years, Grace has done what they call ECHO Sunday. The premis of the Sunday experience is not to be here at the church for “normal” worship services but to spend the morning, about 4 hours, in the community serving various organizations and people. The idea is to “ECHO” God’s love to a lost and hurting world.
There were service teams at Mountain View Elementary School, the Boys & Girls Club, battered women’s shelter, Ronald McDonald House, homeless shelters, Children’s Hospital, on campus at ETSU, etc. Over 500 GFCers were showing the love of Christ to our community through acts of service.
The children and families were able to participate in ECHO Sunday as well. They came to the church campus to ECHO Village and the kids traveled to different stations in one of our auditoriums, passport in hand, complete different activities and earning stickers for their passports. These activities weren’t just little kiddy activities. They were interactive, service focused activities that allowed them to demonstrate God’s love:
- They filled backpacks with school supplies for under privileged children
- They put laundry detergent into ziploc baggies for less fortunate families
- They decorated pillowcases with pictures and messages of God’s love for the homeless shelter
- They put coloring packets together for kids at Children’s Hospital
It truly was an amazing experience for the whole family. The day was concluded by a huge pizza lunch at the church and hearing testimonies from people of their service opportunities, how their lives were impacted, and how they plan to go back on their own to continue to serve and show God’s love to our community.
This type of demonstration of God’s love is what drew me to Grace Fellowship Church. They don’t just talk about sharing God’s love, they do it. And they don’t kid themselves that doing good is good enough. Our Pastor even reminded us that the Gospel needs to be communicated verbally as well as through the way we live our lives.
As I think ahead to next year, I want to be extremely intentional about getting the teenagers in our ministry seriously involved with this experience. My hope and vision is to have them minister and serve Science Hill High School which is our primary high school. I would love your ideas on how we could servie this school on a Sunday in the summer, as well as on an ongoing basis. Please share your thoughts for service ideas in the Comments.
Here’s to living THE Cause in Johnson City, TN through ECHO Sunday and every other day of the year…