What Is God Loves Medfield?
Four Years ago, Flavia Benson, Marc Eames, Dan Nye, and I sat at my Dining Room Table and started trying to wrap our heads around what a day of Service and Community Celebration could look like in Medfield.
Three months later, after conversations with the selectmen and other community leaders, about 50 people from First Baptist and the larger community gathered to clean up three of the town parks and community spaces. When we were done, we had a community celebration for those who had served, complete with Bounce-houses for kids, and food provided by Josh Foley (who at the time was just sketching out the idea of Avenue). We had members of Medfield Green and the Lowell Mason House come and share about their initiatives, and we birthed something that we hoped would become part of the fabric of our community’s life.
That template has become the foundation for God Loves Medfield, a day of service and community celebration that is built out of the command to the people of God in Jeremiah 29 to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city”.
Each year the scope, and the engagement has grown. Last year, we had over 100 out serving in the rain, and this year, we are hoping for many more, as we join with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, The Medfield Green – Savvy Women’s Alliance, and the Charles River Cleanup Association and seek to serve our community by cleaning up 9 different community locations, and then host a community celebration for Medfield residents.
This year, Starbucks is contributing by offering three complimentary “coffee and pastry” stations throughout downtown Medfield. We will also be supporting another start-up enterprise, as lunch will be provided by Cutlets, which opened on North Street this winter.
As we prepare for our fourth annual God loves Medfield I’m excited about what God is doing, and look forward to seeing even more people out serving the community! As the date quickly approaches, I want to look at what we are trying to accomplish through God Loves Medfield, and how you can help.
So, what are we trying to accomplish through God Loves Medfield?
In brief, what we want to do is serve and bless the community and seek its good. In Jeremiah we see that God told the exiles in Babylon to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7). That call extends to us, even today. As God’s people, we are called to seek the good of the place God has called us. One of the core values of the church, and a key part of our mission statement is that “we exist to build a great community.” We don’t believe we exist to look out for our good, and the good of our little enclave, but for the glory of God and the good of the place God has sent us, knowing that we have a savior who didn’t look out for his ends, wants, desires and needs, but ours.
As part of this, we have some distinct aims:
- First, we want to see some real, tangible work done that makes life easier on the DPW crew and all those who are helping to care for the environment in this community.
- Second, we want members of the community of all ages and lengths of tenure to rub shoulders, work together, and build relationships.
Over the last few years, one of the best parts of God Loves Medfield has been introducing myself to people while pulling up debris with them or putting up a bounce house with them and so on. Each year, we’ve had people come back to the community celebration bubbling with energy, talking about the work that was done, enjoying great food, and having fun getting to know each other. This has led to some neat relationships for a lot of the people that have become involved. I want to see that continue. Beyond this, we want to bless the community by highlighting areas of need. At the community celebration the last three years, we’ve had people from Medfield Green and the Lowell Mason House give presentations on what they are doing and highlighted the needs that they have. We hope to do the same again and maybe even expand the spotlight as a way to serve the overall community.
But most of all, we want to share God’s love. We are doing this in God’s name, and under the auspices of God Loves Medfield, because we want this to be more than just a community cleanup day. God Loves Medfield is a way of communicating the love of Christ for the world.
- First, we communicate Christ’s love through actions. We get out, we clean, we pull up trash, we serve through our actions.
- Second, we communication Christ’s love through the sharing of the gospel. Each year, we give a light touch time of sharing the gospel, because, at the end of the day, that is part of it. We don’t go deep, because we want to honor the fact that the community partners are sharing their trust with us. Two years ago, as we advertised God Loves Medfield on Facebook, we had a few people who pushed back and asked, “Why God Loves Medfield? Why not, Medfield Does Good or something like that?” It gave us an opportunity to say, “Look, we are organizing this because we want to extend the love of God in this way.”
- Finally, we communicate Christ’s love, in a slower way, we take the opportunity to intentionally build deep relationships (both existing and newly formed) across which the gospel can be shared.
At the end of the day, the aim of God Loves Medfield is so much bigger than a simple day of service each year. It’s about serving in the name of Christ, so that we may communicate the love of Christ so that our friends and neighbors might encounter the transforming love of Christ and know it for all eternity.
That’s the answer for “the what,” but with this, comes another major question; how can you help?
- Save the date and plan on helping out that day. If you can, clear April 28 from 9am-3pm.
- Spread the word. Share Godlovesmedfield.com. “Like” and “share” the event from God Loves Medfield’s Facebook page. Invite friends. Tell people to come.
- Volunteer. Volunteer to help in the planning, and the working. We’re going to need to have a dedicated team taking the lead in all kinds of areas, from being a site coordinator to helping set up the bounce houses and community celebration, to serving food, and serving in other countless ways.
- Wrap your head around the motivation for this. Don’t see this as a way to recruit people to come and be part of the church, but make it about loving and serving the community. Then, as the Lord gives you the opportunity, share the love of Jesus. If people see us coming out, and just making this about us, it’s going to be off-putting and make us less effective. Really work to understand the biblical motivations and serve in a winsome self-less way that is not about saying, hey look at us, but hey look at Jesus and His call.
- Finally, pray for God Loves Medfield. Pray, Pray, Pray. Pray that relationships are built. Pray that the community is blessed, that those in need are served, that the gospel may be communicated as a result of this work, and that in all, God will be glorified.
March 29, 2018
April 22, 2018
June 15, 2017