When was the last time someone paid you to get out of church?
On May 5th we did just that. The "Serving for Change" dinner was the reveal of five years of imagining and planning ways to take our already inspiring mission and outreach efforts to the next level. GO is what we call our new combined mission, outreach, evangelism, and church planting initiatives. GO refers to Matthew 28:19. "Go and make disciples of all nations." "GO Ministry" is everything that takes us off campus. As we "GO," we do so bringing, "Our unique contribution, to the world’s deep needs, for God’s great glory."
At St. John the Divine we believe that God is calling us to "connect all people to Jesus in ways that change their world for good." We have always done that, of course. Now, however, we are beginning to take the calling that has been ours from our founding to new levels. We are collaborating across the various areas of mission and outreach, focusing our efforts to make deeper impact, and making our contribution in a relational way as we go forth in Life Groups.
The headline speaker for the rollout dinner was Mission Waco founder and Church Under the Bridge pastor, Jimmy Dorrell. Jimmy has spent 40 years raising his family in a distressed neighborhood. Jimmy has stories to tell and he knows how to tell them. The evening honored SJD legends Mary Lou Hall and Ann Cochran, and featured youth director "Farmer Dan" Gannon with a live chicken. We closed the evening with the world's worst kept secret: the distribution of "Harvey GO Grants" in the form of $1000 gift cards to our Life Groups. Our goal is to stimulate our participation in another round of great hurricane recovery work in the lives of our fellow Houstonians.
After the event one parishioner said, "I kept waiting for the bait and switch. I just knew you were going to ask us to pay for the cards."
"No," we replied, "We are just paying you to get out of church...GO!"