Yesterday morning our church gave money away to everyone who came to our worship service. Here’s why we did.
Anywhere you look in our culture, you see division. It’s really easy and really common to wholesale dismiss entire groups of people. You talk about politics, you talk about gun control, you talk about capital punishment, race, police, you talk about who’s life matters, you talk about beginning of life issues, sexuality, you name an issue and you see division, division, division, division. Unfortunately, Christian people are no exception here. In fact, unfortunately in many cases, people who claim to be followers of Jesus are leading the charge.
I find that a lot of Christians are too often really good at telling you what they are against. If you pull up Google and type “why are Christians so…” the list that’s auto-populated isn’t pretty: Judgmental. Angry. Hypocritical. Mean. It’s not a pretty list. It hurts. I had a conversation with somebody about a month ago, somebody who didn’t really grow up in church, who when she found out that I was a pastor said, “Sometimes I get really frustrated and confused by what my ‘Christian’ friends post on social media.’” I just said, “yeah, me too.”
In the book of Romans, the author Paul writes, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Followers of Jesus, then, aren’t people who are primarily against, but people who are primarily for. For their communities. For their cities. For each other. For the world. I think we have a culture who is desperate to hear that there is a church who is for them and not against them. There are people all over this community and this city who desperately need to know that God is with them and not against them.
And so, we are literally putting our money where our mouth is on that. Yesterday, we gave everyone who came to worship with us a $5 dollar bill and we initiated what we’re calling the #KindnessProject. We asked them to do three things with it over the next four weeks. (If you weren’t with us, I want to invite you and encourage to grab a $5 of your own and do this with us.)
Week 1: Pray about it. Ask God to help you answer these questions: What are the needs in my community? What are the needs of my co-workers or friends? Who are the people who need to be shown an extra measure of kindness or compassion in my community? What people around you do you have the most compassion for? What needs around you do you most want to do something about?
Week 2-3: Multiply your $5. Use your $5 to do something to increase the amount of your $5. You might buy supplies to host a lemonade or hot chocolate stand. You might have a yard sale. You might create a website and use social media to ask people to help you. The opportunities are endless.
Week 4: Give it away. Give it in an act of kindness or compassion to a person, group, mission, or ministry in your community. You might do something for teachers at your school. You might buy clothes for someone in need. You might buy breakfast for everyone in line at a restaurant or give an extra large tip to a server. Again, the possibilities are endless. The catch is, you cannot give the money back to our church. We don’t want it. You have to give it away.
Finally: Tell the story. Share the story with us and with the world about how you and your family are participating in the #Kindness Project. Use the hashtags #TheVillageNashville and #KindnessProject as you post things on social media so that we can all share the stories of a God who is for our community working through us.
This is one way that we want to be known as a church who is for this community. What might that look like for you? What might that look like for the followers of Jesus to unite around what we are for? What would it look like for every person who’s part of The Village or any church body to be known as persons who are for their community, for their city? What if every day, throughout our city, people encountered the God who is for them and not against them through you and through me? That’s my hope and prayer for us today.