A Day To niceSERVE

Summit Church, the church I’ve been attending, had today a wonderful event called niceSERVE, a church-wide day of service to the community where for three hours, they provide volunteer help to different local organizations. Summit has been doing this event three times a year since 2004. The moment that I saw that this event was coming I knew I wanted to participate, so once I realized I’d be off from work, I signed up immediately. I have been very excited about this event, and now that it’s done, I am so glad I had the chance to be a part of it.

There were just over two dozen projects to choose from, ranging from cleaning up parks to beautifying the facilities of various organizations, from painting and landscaping to providing childcare for those parents serving out in the community. I decided to help out at the church facility itself, and that meant emptying out a warehouse that’s no longer going to be used (therefore saving the church some money better spent elsewhere) and moving materials from deep storage to areas more easily accessible for immediate use.

There were about 10 of us in the group, led by Summit staffers Brendan and Will, all ready to get to work. First we tackled the warehouse, which we practically emptied out of trash (perfecting the art of dumpster Tetris, as you can see below) in just about 40 minutes. We loaded a van with all the materials that would be moved to storage, and the group split up, with most going to unload the van and work at the main building, while three of us stayed behind to load a dump trailer one of the volunteers had for a trip to the landfill. At the main building the volunteers got to work moving materials into new storage areas, building some shelves, and rearranging some common areas used by study groups. We ended up taking care of some more trash removal at the main building, since we had hit the goals for today quite quickly, and we were still done with everything with 30 minutes to spare. We then had a very nice catered lunch provided by the church (4 Rivers BBQ, for the locals).

Brendan and Will, our Team Leaders, kept thanking us for our help today, but honestly, I wanted to thank them, and Summit, for giving me a chance to serve others, to serve the community, serve the church. From a day-to-day, social point of view, this election week has been one overflowing with negative emotions from all sides, so it felt good to have a day where the focus was on positivity, on giving, on doing concrete things to help others. From a religious point of view, it was a chance to do as Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,” to put “Love thy neighbor” into practice. From any angle you look at it, it is good to serve others, it is good to put a little extra love out into the world.

Thanks to Summit Church for the opportunity to serve, to Brendan and Will for being great Team Leaders (and to Will specifically for the good conversation), to my teammates for their help, and to God for giving us the example and instruction to follow.