The Springs Church took their worship to the streets last Sunday—literally.
About 150 people participated in the church’s annual “Beyond the Walls” event, where the congregation leaves the walls of the building behind and reaches out to people in the community by serving.
Cherri’ Kerr, local missions pastor at The Springs, located at 135 N. Grant, said the day is not about recruiting people to come to the church—it’s about serving others.
“We just want people to know that we are friendly and we care about them,” said Kerr. “But it’s also about discipleship. It gives people in the church an opportunity to be a part of the community and learn about their needs.”
The church started this outreach five years ago, and Kerr took over organizing it three years ago. She said that each year is different. “Each year I try to find more ways for people in the church to engage personally with people in the community,” she explained. “I want people to understand that our heart truly is to serve, to show the love of Christ. It’s really about learning to serve and love people sacrificially. We don’t expect anything in return.”
This year the church had 14 teams for Beyond the Walls. Some of the projects included visiting and singing at Hope Network; fifth and six graders visiting patients at Metron; a team fixing a broken water fountain at Metron; a group delivering bags of groceries to people; a team doing yard work and washing windows at the Post; another group handing out water bottles on the White Pine Trail; others handing out grocery totes to people; individuals visiting the elderly at Mildred Houting in Sand Lake; a group handing out chips and pop; a team walking around the city and praying; and another picking up trash. A couple of other new fun projects included a money drop at a local grocery store, where the team dropped dollar bills in grocery carts for people, then went to the McDonald’s drive thru and passed them out, and a veterans fanfare, where people dressed in red, white and blue and stood at the Main and Muskegon Street intersection with signs that told people to honk if they love vets. They reportedly had just under 4,000 honks. A couple of support teams stayed at the church and worked either caring for kids age 4 and under, or working in the kitchen to prepare lunch for the volunteers, and goody trays that were delivered to the city school, city hall and fire department on Monday.
After the event, the teams came back to the church to have lunch and talk about what they did. “I like it when I see something come out of it,” said Kerr. “When people understand it’s not just a one-day project.” She noted that several individuals made connections they plan to foster—such as visiting more often at Mildred Houting and Metron.
Kerr doesn’t yet have any specific plans for next year’s event. “Every year I try to pay attention to what’s needed, and just trust that we’ll be where God wants us to be,” she explained.