Fourteen years ago I started attending Arlington Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. I didn’t attend for the thriving college ministry. There wasn’t one. I didn’t attend for some amazing contemporary worship. That wasn’t their style. I made my church home there because of the church and their ministry. And the way they let a first-year college student find a place in their community. They invited me to come to their Sunday School class and to help with Kids’ Club on Saturday mornings.
Kids’ Club was a partnership between Arlington and God’s Pantry to provide lunch and brown bag of food to the neighborhood kids that would show up for movies, time in the computer lab, crafts, and other fun. With a double dose of adults that cared as well.
It didn’t take long for those students to burrow into my heart and make me the weirdo in my dorm who voluntarily got up early on Saturday AND Sunday mornings.
Fourteen years ago, First Christian Church in Jefferson City was already well-practiced at mentoring students at East Elementary School. The congregation has long been passionate about supporting the students, teachers, and staff at East. A school often spoken about in terms of problems and needs instead of strengths and community.
Yesterday, First Christian held a block party at East School for the whole neighborhood. It seemed like the natural result of decades of ministry, taking another step to expand the relationship beyond the school walls.
The seeds for yesterday’s event were planted years ago in Jefferson City when members at First Christian first answered the call to be caring adult role models in the lives of students. The seeds for yesterday’s event were also planted 14 years ago when I first saw the difference care and opportunity could have in the lives of children in Lexington, Kentucky.
It is a parallel I couldn’t see until the dust from the event started to settle this morning. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see how, with God’s help, seeds planted long ago have come together to blossom anew.
Community Block Party hosted by First Christian Church Jefferson City at East School September 9, 2016