One Sunday, the service was concluded early as a congregational meeting was held to discuss the success of the program and to identify goals for the future. Pastor Willis called forward the church council chairman, John Underwood, Earl Williams, the shoe store owner who had been made chairman of program donations and Bob Shankland, the local school maintenance supervisor who was now dual hatted as Sunday school transportation chairman. These gentlemen made up the leadership team of the local outreach.
"Gentlemen, I am going to ask each of you to briefly tell us what we have accomplished so far; I want the congregation to hear about the good works", Pastor Willis stated.
John Underwood went first, stating, "The council agreed to put five hundred dollars in a special fund to start this project. Our object is to grow our church, bring in children who need the word and teachings of God and help these less fortunate in whatever way we can to help them overcome their obstacles."
He continued, "To date we have had an additional two hundred dollars in unexpected contributions and our only costs so far have been three hundred dollars in parts for the church bus while attracting as many as sixteen on a Sunday to youth Sunday school and an increase of membership of four families from the affected areas plus more showing an interest."
He turned to Earl Williams and said, "Earl, tell us about our shoe program and other areas where we are trying to provide donations of value."
Earl reported that twenty-five pairs of good quality shoes have been donated, plus he threw in another dozen and that all shoes have been distributed to those needing them.
He added, "We are also looking at starting up a joint community closet with the other churches in town to offer warm winter clothing now that winter is coming on. There has been no outlay of any money required in these areas to date, all work requirements have been handled on a voluntary basis by several of our members."
Lastly, Bob Shankland took the floor, smiling as he said, "Well, Pastor, you stole most of my thunder but, then again folks, most of the elbow grease under the hood was provided by Pastor Chuck so I guess he deserves the lion's share of credit. He must have been a pretty good Army mechanic."
But seriously, folks, we found two church members who still have a bus driver's license so they will alternate on making the church runs and I will substitute when there is a shortage. We're even thinking about using the bus for a special outing for the kids, such as a trip to the ice rink or some similar activity."
Handing the microphone back to the Pastor, the congregation broke out in unplanned applause. Pastor Willis knew that his plan was working and it would grow. And with a much more vibrant Sunday school already to show for it, some new members and a good program start to helping the unfortunate, he would turn his eyes once again upward for guidance from his Lord.
That evening he got down on his knees and prayed for guidance and inspiration. He would sit down with the council at a special breakfast meeting later in the week and discuss the future. And now that he had gained the enthusiastic support of not just several key people in the church community but a score of volunteers and enthusiastic congregational support, he knew that his goal to do something above and beyond in the area of outreach was becoming a reality.
This is just one simple case, folks, of what a small church can do when it sets its mind to it. With a good pastor, some hard working leaders and volunteers, and the guidance provided from God above, the sky is definitely the limit. What about you and your church? Think about it; you can make a very big difference through well thought out outreach. After all, it's what he expects of us as Christians isn't it?