by Joe White
In Jeremiah 29, God tells the Israelites who are in exile in Babylon to seek the peace and prosperity of the city, though it was not their true home. On this side of God’s renewal of all things, we too live in a world that is not truly home. Yet the calling on the Christian is to likewise seek the peace and prosperity of the environments in which God has placed us, for his glory.
Here’s how we at Lake Baldwin Church take this to heart: we want to be the kind of church that, were we to disappear tomorrow, would be missed by our city. We want LBC to be known as a church that cares deeply about Orlando.
But how do we do that? What are some of the ways that we can express our heart for the city in 2018?
One way is to continue to highlight and champion our partner organizations, such as Elevate Orlando, Jobs Partnerships, 306 Foundation, and Grace Medical Home. (Learn more about our partners HERE.) As a growing local church, we don’t have the expertise and experience that these organizations have, but we do have the opportunity (such a cool one at that) to partner up and support what God is doing through them. Many at LBC already offer time, money, and volunteer support to these agencies. Through increased Sunday morning exposure, and identifying a “champion” in the congregation for each organization, we anticipate even greater support and connection in 2018.
Another avenue for seeking the peace of our city is through our Community Group ministry. While we love offering church-wide service opportunities throughout the year (more on that in a bit) we believe that there is something uniquely powerful about people in a community group brainstorming and praying about how God might use their group to care for the community.
These “grass roots” efforts began springing up in 2017— I’m reminded of one group in particular. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, this community group, filled with people all across the spectrum in their faith journeys, decided to rally together to help pack meals through Feeding Children Everywhere. Inspired by stories like this, other Community Group leaders have requested that we highlight serving opportunities for them throughout the year. As a result, in 2018 all our group leaders will receive monthly updates featuring a variety of opportunities to care for our city together as a group.
In addition to community group initiatives, we have a goal of offering 2-4 church-wide opportunities this year. Last summer, our SPLASH Kids program hosted a service day to donate and pack backpacks filled with school supplies for homeless and displaced kids enrolled at Glenridge Middle School. It was an opportunity for the whole church to come together and be the hands and feet of Christ in our community. (Check out the video below.) More opportunities like that are in store for 2018!
But there’s one more aspect to caring for our city that I would be remiss to leave out. In a very real sense, God has been bringing the city to us.
The needs are not only out there, but in here. Because of this, we’re grateful for a growing Deacon team that offers assistance through the deacons' fund to care for those God brings our way.
As 2018 is already underway, would you join me in praying for, and engaging in, the mission that God has for us? Ours is a mission to be a church not just for ourselves, but for our city. To God be the glory.
Want to get involved?
Habitat for Humanity work day
Saturday, February 24th, 9:00-noon
This opportunity is limited to 10 volunteers from LBC, so email David Runnels today to sign up! Volunteers must be age 16 and older.