Eric Likkel understands that the task of reaching out to neighbors must go beyond Sunday mornings.
Likkel, a ministry associate who is pastor of Emmaus Road Christian Reformed Church in Seattle, Wash., joined 23 other church members in community service instead of holding a Sunday morning worship on October 30.
Cleaning Legos™ at New Horizons ministry in Seattle on Groundworks Sunday.
Each fifth Sunday of the month at Emmaus Road is called “Groundworks Sunday.” Church members serve with various ministries located in the same neighborhood as the church.
“We believe serving helps lay the groundwork for cultivating relationships and planting seeds of friendship among neighbors. Our hope is to find common ground, where kingdom values converge with the wants and needs of neighbors,” said Likkel.
On the most recent Groundworks Sunday, participants—young children to middle aged—sorted donations and cleaned a kitchen frequently used by street-involved youth at a ministry called New Horizons.
Church members also partnered with Redeeming Soles, a ministry that collects, cleans, and distributes gently worn shoes to people living on the street. Four volunteers sorted over 700 pairs of shoes.
Other members served with Catholic Community Services [PDF], where they cleaned kitchens and bathrooms for low-income seniors and hosted a Bingo tournament.
Likkel said, “What is amazing is how God multiplies the love and efforts of the faithful. Little things matter a lot. We have adopted another motto: you can’t always be a ‘big church,’ but through faith you can always be ‘church big.’”
Groundworks Sunday began nearly three years ago. “Our congregation must be willing to take risks and try things in faith to learn how God is leading us into relevant ministry where we are called to serve. We do feel blessed,” said Likkel.