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Together for Joy: Serve

By Bruce Ludwig

God calls us to serve as Mark says in his Gospel "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." And Matthew says "to the extent that you did this to others -- even the least of these, you have done this to me." Southminster is a serving Church. In our outreach, we serve as disciples of Christ by Going Beyond these walls to be a part of God's mission. We are God's hands and feet discovering how the love of God works through us and among us. Our mission and outreach efforts offer us opportunities to be involved in doing the Lord's work either in person or by contributing dollars. We feed the homeless at the Firehouse Shelter and First Light; we build houses with Habitat for Humanity; we prepare back packs in a gesture of love; we help fill pantry shelves with Greater Birmingham Ministries as well as help them provide a Joyous Christmas for many of their clients; even though we have our own school, we support our neighboring community school; we help provide toiletries to a local correctional institution; we fill bags to feed the hungry in the world just to name a few ways we serve. Sometimes we ask for special donations to help us do this like our current drive to buy bicycles and soon toys and gifts for Christmas. But we also budget dollars to provide financial assistance to 16 partner organizations such as Presbyterian Home for Children, Medical Benevolence Foundation, UKIRK, Habitat for Humanity, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Living River, and the Presbytery to help support their missions. Our 2023 budget includes nearly $60,000 in Benevolences that are paid to these organizations. These are actual budgeted dollars and are dependent on the level of our pledged giving. In other words, the more we pledge the more we have to distribute to these groups.

On a personal note, there's nothing more fulfilling than to receive countless "God Bless You's" from folks as we distribute backpacks, or to witness the joy and excitement of the new homeowner at a Habitat home dedication, or to stuff GBM's building full of bicycles. One thing that I will treasure for ever, was to help build the McGuire Meeting Pavilion down at Living River. Every time I visit Living River I have to check on it. I'm happy to say that it is still standing, but, more importantly, I've seen it in use -- kids doing crafts, folks meeting -- that's what it was built for. The dedication plaque says it all: Lovingly constructed by members of Shades Valley Presbyterian Church April/May 2015 Changing Lives...Growing disciples. That's why we serve -- to change lives and grow disciples.

I invite you to join as a congregation in serving God, His people, and the world through Christ. Opportunities to serve are there all around us and there’s a place for all of us in God’s service. Please join me in serving the needs of the church and those around us by faithfully giving in our expression of gratitude for all that we have been given. We serve because Christ first served us; we give because Christ first gave to us.


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