StreetReach Moira

Sometimes the most powerful witness to the Christian faith is love, right? Sometimes the best way to show people we are serious isn’t by having a killer argument to convince them with, but be willing to put ourselves out and do something practical and loving for them. Without any sort of agenda. Without looking to ram the gospel down their throat while doing so, but just simply acting out of love, doing onto the least of men as we would to Jesus (as He tells us to in Matthew 25). Which is why I love Streetreach, and why I gave up 3 days last week to clear up allyways, paint fences for old ladies, weed gardens and clear moss from some random guy’s driveway.
Last week something pretty interesting happened in Moira (my home town). Something I was very excited to be a part of, and something which I want to share a bit about with you in the hope it’ll inspire you to try something similar.
Some of you will have heard of Streetreach before. It has happened in Belfast and Lisburn and involves teams of young people, from all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of denominations coming together as the Church, one united Body (as Jesus prayed for in John 17) and just simply doing these random good deeds for people in the community (mainly gardening or litter clearing related). And last week it happened in Moira. {NB Moira is a small town near lisburn in Northern Ireland. It happens to havejust about the best butcher for sausages anywhere in the world (McCartney’s). He has the awards to prove it. And he’s been on the Chris Evans Breakfast show…}
Here’s the thing. We don’t mind going to Church on a Sunday, reading the Bible in our quiet times, even listening to worship music mid-week if we are feeling ultra holy. But God wants us to have a faith where we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. And all too often I know I shy away from chances to do that. Which is why things like StreetReach, when a group of Christians get together to do something is great, because when you are in a group of people you suddenly get keen to look good by mucking in. Especially if there are members of the opposite sex about…
And here’s something I learnt. At the end of the first day I was a bit frustrated that we’d spent all this time working on people’s gardens and hauling heavy trees and bags of gravel about and no-one had come up to us and asked us about why we were doing it. There had been no reports of people seeing Christians pick up a scrap of litter and instantly give their lives to Christ. But as things progressed the next day and then the final day we started to see people taking an interest. Starting to show some appreciation that people were doing something to tidy up the neigbourhood. And I realised that doing things like this may not by themselves win people to Christ, but are crucial in getting people interested in finding out more about what this Christianity thing is all about. It opens the door for people to give church another chance. It opens the door for conversations wit Christian friends. And it may not be for us to see the fruit of what we sow. “I [Paul] planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow1 Corinthians 3:6. Also bare in mind that plant growth is not instant. It takes time.
Another thing that rocked about StreetReach was the fact that it brought the churches together for the first time ever. In Moira there is this one road with 4 churches on it (3 within about 50m of each other) and this was the first time ever we had come together as the Church to serve people and show a united front to the world. We are going to be together in heaven for eternity, so we may as well get to know each other now, right? And what better way to do so than by serving God and then playing rounders?
One final thing – it was all about young people – pretty much everyone involved was under 30, most were under 21. So don’t let your age hold you back from trying something similar in your local area. Get together with a few friends, speak to your youth minister, get some other local churches on board, go through all the stupid (but highly important) insurance and health and safety red tape (don’t remember Jesus requiring that his disciples wore high visibilty jackets when casting out demons, but apparently you need them to mow grass), and then get out there and do something. Show some love to your community. Get your hands dirty. Get covered in cuts and bruises. Get to know those folk at the church you pass every week. Glorify God. Put your faith into action.
To wrap up, here’s a video of it all in action. DISCLAIMER – I didn’t put the video together. If you were at StreetReach Moira and your picture is in it and you object to that, don’t take it up with me! (Facebookers – the video is on the All4God wall, facebook doesn’t like me putting videos in my posts)

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