By MATT BUSH
My first experience leading as a coordinator for LOVE Week didn’t go exactly as planned. I was excited because as a part of the launch team at our first University City location, and our second location being built.. I could just see the momentum God was bringing to the area.
But after several meetings with a partner WE planned to work with – we could see THEY were just not going to be ready for this crazy thing we call LOVE Week.. The clock was ticking … LOVE Week was already underway… BUT GOD had something better in mind.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Isn’t it true that sometimes we have to GIVE UP OUR PLANS to SEE GOD’s PLAN FOR US? He always seems to show up when we least expect it. I went to Vance High School, and seemingly – randomly – met the varsity football coach as two-a-days were going on. I talked to him about LOVE Week, explained the vision, he caught my excitement and was on board.
Saturday morning’s event with Vance went beautifully – we cleaned their stadium/locker rooms. I was able to build on this relationship with coach, following up to pray for him. Two weeks later, he texted me to see if he could bring his entire football team to one of our worship experiences. You bet I said YES!
That Sunday, a bus with 68 students and staff on board pulled into the University City worship experience. They loved every minute – THE ENTIRE TEAM, STAFF, AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT WERE THERE TO SAY THANK YOU!
At least three of the people on that bus gave their lives to Jesus that morning.
Members of the coaching staff have returned several times to visit us, even after lots of tears and hugs! I am blown away by God allowing me to play a small part in their story. I can’t wait to see all that God does as the relationship grows!
The love of Jesus is PERSISTENT – We serve during LOVE Week “so that” even when OUR plans seem to fail, HIS PLAN is there – HE draws people nearer to himself, and we get to see the miraculous results.
It’s Top Opportunities Tuesday and we’re sharing our top FIVE upcoming opportunities to serve.
UPTOWN LUNCH BREAK AT CRISIS – Crisis Assistance Ministry offers this great opportunity to serve guests waiting in the lobby for emergency help with rent and utilities. Many of them have been waiting for several hours and it’s a great way to bring refreshment to neighbors seeking assistance.
DINNER WITH FRIENDS - Samaritan House provides recuperative care for homeless men and women in need of short-term care immediately following a hospital or emergency room stay. This is a great eGroups opportunity. We cook a meal together, and then we sit down to enjoy each other’s company.
ROCK HILL DREAM CENTER - Learn about the mission and vision of our strategic outreach parter. See how your giving is already making an impact and learn how you can be a part of changing the world for people in need near our South Carolina campus. Child care will not be available.
GALA TO GIVE – Give Fifty-One is a new in 2014 outreach partner and we’re excited about the opportunity to come alongside them as they seek to bring a brighter future to children in need. This ministry was born out of Elevation Church and is just getting started. We believe in this unique ministry model that has already impacted many young lives. Stay tuned for more details on this one.
FAMILY FUN IN MATTHEWS – It’s a LOVE Weekend Saturday with COS Kids in Matthews as we celebrate fall. This is a great family-friendly opportunity to encourage and interact with youth – some of whom are from single-parent homes and can really use an emotional and spiritual boost.
By KRISTI BEZY
One of the things I love most about LOVE Week is how our impact lasts well beyond those nine days of service… and how it is our PRESENCE that makes all the difference… it’s not necessarily what we DO or even what we SAY – it’s that we are PRESENT with people and we honor them.
In LOVE Week 2011 Pastor Steven preached from Romans 12:9-10 which says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
This LOVE Week in Concord, we served dinner every night and provided overnight volunteers at “My Father’s House” – a place providing transitional housing for people facing homelessness. We got to build on a relationship that began in the spring with Deana, Malashia, and Kevin. Deana is the single mother of these two children. Several of OUR single moms from Elevation Concord really connected with this family and served several times during the week. Deana knew Elevation was different because volunteers sat down with them, ate with them, and actually got to know them. We loved them right where they were.
Because of this investment, Deana and her family started coming to Elevation after LOVE Week and accepted Christ! Kevin got baptized last month, and Deana and Kevin completed Elevation 101. Deana got plugged into an eGroup and two other moms at CCM have accepted Christ at Elevation since LOVE Week.
Deana and her family have taught me how our PRESENCE can make all the difference in someone’s life. We didn’t DO anything extravagant. We just sat down at the table and loved them like Jesus loves us. And that opened the door for them to meet our Lord and Savior.
The love of Jesus is MAGNETIC – We serve during LOVE Week “so that” families can see our savior IN US and desire to draw nearer to Him and begin a relationship WITH HIM!