By Judy Reed
When most people think of Sunday morning worship, they think of a church, or some structure, with four walls, with people standing up, sitting down, kneeling, praying, and singing. The congregation at The Springs Free Methodist Church in Cedar Springs did a little bit of all those things Sunday, but it wasn’t inside the church. Instead, about 200 congregants took their faith out into the community at 11 a.m. to help their neighbors and clean up the city.
According to the Springs senior Pastor Barry Briggs, the event was a great success. “This was worship in action,” explained Briggs. “We worshiped the Lord by serving others.”
Members raked leaves, picked up trash, scraped paint off a local home, washed windows of area businesses, painted a mobile home, sealed a leaky roof, and went door to door asking people if they had needs that they wanted them to pray for. They went back to the church at 1 p.m. for a soup, salad and sandwich supper, and members went back out afterward and finished some of the jobs that still needed to be completed.
Briggs has been preaching on the vision of the church, and labeled this project, “Beyond the walls.” He said three things inspired him to do this. “First, I wanted the church to help people in the community. Secondly, I wanted the church to be intentional about serving in the community, to instill that value. And third, I wanted to inspire other groups to get involved.”
Briggs said he called City Manager Christine Burns a few weeks ago to find out what the needs were in the community, and what needed to be done before Red Flannel Day. She was happy to oblige, and happy with the results. “I was thrilled when Pastor Barry proposed the idea of giving back to the community,” said Burns. “I spend more time putting out fires and dealing with negative stuff, so it was a real inspiration to see what the Springs was proposing to do.” She said she and Mayor Linda Hunt drove around on Monday morning to see what had been accomplished. “It was neat to see what the congregation did within our great little city,” she remarked.
Briggs said he has had a lot of positive feedback from people they served, and it has motivated some other groups to so something similar. But he said the biggest response he got was from those that did the work. “They were fired up, and wanted to know when we can do this again. They were really excited about it,” he remarked.
He said he thinks that it will become an annual event, but they may do it during the summer instead. They also plan to finish up the home they scraped paint from and hope to paint it after Red Flannel Day.