On Thursday, we had a chance to love and serve our city. We hosted the 7th Police District Advisory Council meeting at our building. Some quick thoughts.
1. We used our building for the sake of the city. We have often said that if we are not the most generous people in the world, something is seriously wrong with us. We have been given a $2M property for free. We have been given a priceless salvation for free. How can this kind of generosity not move us to be generous as well? As one expression of this, it is a deep desire of ours that our building would be used in service of others however possible. The 7th PDAC is a Police-Community relations organization. Leaders from various businesses, agencies, and organizations throughout our community gather to discuss and address issues in our city. They were so grateful for our willingness to host the meeting. I told them that our building was available for anything that might help the community. Hopefully, this is a good small step in loving our city.
2. We practiced hospitality. A bunch of the folks from the Gospel Centered Life study helped clear the room and set up tables and chairs for the event. Siby came to set up sound. Shainu and Liz helped to make the room look great with tablecloths, flowers, a great lunch spread, and fancy desserts. All of that time, money, and effort and it had nothing to do with our church. It was for the sake of others. That’s what hospitality is and all of it went a long way in making our guests feel welcomed. (They were so impressed with the cheesecake!)
3. We told our story. I was standing outside welcoming people into the building with one of the police officers. He asked about the name of our church. “Seven Mile Road?” Before I could say a word, one of the guests said, “Isn’t that from a story in the Bible?” And he went on to tell the story of the Emmaus road, and the confused disciples, the Risen Christ, the running back to tell everyone. “It’s from Luke isn’t it?” It was great. This gentleman communicated the heart behind our name without me saying a word. Moreover, several people walked into our building asking, “Wasn’t this another church?” Some had been on the property before for a wedding or a service of some kind. This afforded me the opportunity to tell our story. The story of a church choosing death so that it could freely give life to another. I told them that death and resurrection was at the heart of what happened between St. Mark’s and Seven Mile Road. That it’s Easter week was a perfect fit.
4. We have work to do. Sitting in the room were police officers who daily give their lives to keeping our city safe; a local elementary school principal who leads our city’s children; the Police Captain who is responsible for the entire district; representatives from different agencies throughout the city. As I sat in the room with these different community leaders, I was reminded again of our responsibility as followers of Jesus. Our responsibility to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to pray for our leaders, to bless and serve our city. “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jer. 29:7)