Today, I want to provide some updates on WHERE we have served to reveal the significance of the idea of being a hub. As a part of the where, I have invited Dr. Jeremy Burright, the superintendent of Fairfax Schools, to share a little about his vision for the school and how our church might serve the school.
Before we get to that point, I want to share some things we have been doing. Some of you may be aware of some or most of these items, but one of my goals of having Hub Sunday every month is for us to share what God is doing through this church – wherever that may be. Why should we share this? Primarily to celebrate what God is doing. But, as we celebrate, these days can be an encouragement to each one of us to do some small part. As I mentioned in July, one set of passages where Scripture supports this idea comes from Paul (and Barnabas) who returned to Antioch to share what God did on their travels. (Read the following verses – Acts 13.1-3; Acts 14.26-28; Acts 18.22-23.)
But, Jesus did the same thing with His disciples as they went out into the towns of Israel. (Read Mark 6.7-13, 30-32.) Matthew 10 and Luke 10 share the same basic story with more of Jesus’ teaching the disciples.
So, what are some of the places we have/are serving?
Of course, this month, we focus on raising funds for the Missouri Missions Offering. But let us briefly review some of the places members of our church have served over the past few years. We will track this with some board that will have colored paper taped on them where we serve. We have served:
- Locally – VBS, God Squad, No Hunger Summer, Labor for the Son Day, preparing church for the renovations, serving meals to families after funerals, Adopt a Family (as a church, and through Community Groups), Food Drop, our annual dinner to serve widows which has now expanded to the community, etc.;
- Throughout This Area – Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Baptist Student Union;
- Within Missouri – God’s Mountain, Grand Oaks, etc.;
- In Illinois – helping to build a church;
- And around the world – Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Kenya, OCC.
That reminds me a little bit of Jesus statement of proclaiming His Name in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of th earth.
Some projects are short in duration – like our Labor for the Son Day. Some spent 30 minutes, others an hour or a little more. Some did physical labor, and others made visits to members who had not been here for awhile.
Other projects take a while. You have heard about the plarn mats for months, and I have held one up when we were downstairs last month. But we are getting quite a few done now and will be shipping a batch to Kenya in a couple of week to make certain these can be used.
And speaking of Kenya, here are a few pictures of the well that was repaired last month in Lesurwa – where Benson is pastor.
Also, I have been promising a video for a while, but we had trouble getting sound through when Simon sent the first set of videos. After the well was completed, this came through just fine.
This well is from donation made through our church. Most of the money came from people out of town and out of state, but what that means is that people are hearing about what we are doing and are wanting to partner with us to make a difference. Consider our vision verse from Matthew 5.16: we are being salt and light in order that others would see our good works and glorify the Father who is in heaven. People ARE glorifying God because of what Fairfax Baptist Church is doing. Perhaps people are not beating down our doors to come, but our tasks is to be faithful in going and God is blessing us because we are starting to do more.
One of the joys many of you have is contributing loose change each month during the piki offering. As we prepare to sing, let us take a moment to take this offering again so our brothers in Kenya – Michael and Benson – can have gas for their motorbikes for another month.
Dr Burright and I meet each month to simply talk. I began having discussions with Dr. Garrett during his last year here – which is part of how NHS came to Fairfax. When Jeremy came to Fairfax, my intention was to continue those discussions. Last year, we met two or three times, but our schedules got in the way. This year, we have both committed to the hour or so being more of a priority. Why?
The reality is that the school and the hospital are the primary institutions in this town. The Church (even this church) might have been a part of that conversation in the past, but that is not true any longer. But we do not need to lament that fact. Instead, let us celebrate that this town is still alive and well because of the school and because of the hospital. And if we are to be a large church in a small town, then we need to engage where the opportunities allow. Remember, being a large church is about influence, not necessarily numbers. So, where can we have influence? Well, the school is one of the greatest areas we can have influence.
Therefore, I have invited Dr. Burright to come and speak today in order to share a little about himself, about what his vision for the school, and how we might help.
Dr. Burright’s portion of the message was here.
Our strategy is comprised of the acrostic JOURNEY. One reason that word was chosen is that we are all on a spiritual journey – some with Jesus, some towards Jesus, and others away from Him. But another aspect of the JOURNEY is that we each have an opportunity to prepare those who are younger to be better prepared for their geographical journey. We know that most of the students who graduate from Fairfax do not return to this area. So, the question we must ask ourselves is: What can we do to help the students commit themselves to letting Jesus be the guide on their life’s journey? The Children’s Festival yesterday was one aspect. God Squad starts this week – that is another. The new Root Group starts on Thursday as well. VBS is still very important. We have the Community Youth Group. But all of those are about others coming to us. No Hunger Summer is one way we go out to the families and children in the community. Serving the school is a way to go to them. Sure, we cannot go in and sing Jesus Loves Me or stand and preach whatever we want, but that is no different than when Paul travelled to other places. He went to the synagogue to teach (where people generally believed in God) and then went from there.
It is possible that any service we provide for the school will not cause one person to come into this church. Am I ok with that? Well, again, our purpose is to be about loving God and loving others even if that love is not returned as we might expect. But I can assure you this. Someone will ask, “Who painted this?” Or “How did this get done?” And the answer will be someone from the church, maybe even Fairfax Baptist Church. Again, remember the passage related to our vision is that we are salt and light. Verse 16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
If we serve – and do it well, God will be glorified. If God is glorified, that is what matters. If He chooses to have someone come and be a part of this fellowship of believers, let us welcome them. If someone decides that seeing what we have done causes them to return to God, but do so in another Bible-believing church, Amen! Again, our competition is not other churches that teach the Bible. Our competition is any part of the culture around us that is against, or even apathetic toward, God.
So, let us be a sending Hub. Let us be a church that is known not for coming to church, but for going and serving as a part of the Church. Yes, we should still come for discipleship, fellowship, and worship, but we do so in order that we can better minister and share God’s message with others.
What’s Next? The Challenge
Dr. Burright has given us some options on how we might help the school. Some of the opportunities will requires some physical work (such as painting), others will require making a relational commitment to one or several students, etc. The question before us now is how to proceed? But before we can proceed, each person needs to consider what they will do. If we leave the idea at the level of us, then we can excuse ourselves because someone else will do it (and if they don’t then that is their fault). But if we make it personal – What will I do? (not what can I do?), then something will happen. And like the Labor for the Son Day, if you are unable to physically do something, that’s ok, you can pray! But again, our response goes beyond what each of us can do, our response is to actually do. The question we must each ask ourselves is: Will I do what God asks me to do?
Remember, our God is a sending God. He sent His Son. He is sending us. So, how will you respond?