Summer is here and we need helpers at South Street. We need servants to help repair and build bikes. We need friends to garden with children. We need leaders to serve at Summer Camp. We need neighbors and friends committed to mentoring, Christ-centered relationships with neighborhood youths.
Every committed partner at South Street has tales of the blessings and hardships of relationships. Stories of kids that have fallen away, then returned. Testimonies of children who grow into Christ-seeking young men and women. Lamentations over the hardships that some teenagers face on a daily basis. This relational closeness is blessing; it becomes friendship. It is the core of why we do what we do at South Street.
Jesus told it to his disciples on the night of the Last Supper, "I call you friends." That is the end-goal of bike shop, gardens, and summer camp: Holy Friendships. And friendships take time.
There is a dangerous trend amongst Christian groups (youth, college, and adult): it is the 'Volunteer Experience.' Groups come for a day or a week to serve. This service trip is stated as serving the kids or organization, but truly is for the benefit of the visiting group. Groups come to fulfill volunteer hours, to experience life differently, to feel good about themselves, or because their pastors tell them to.
They are friendly, but not friends.
And this is my upbringing. I am the product of mission trips, volunteer hours, and days of service. And at South Street we are implicit in this system at times, because everyone starts from some degree of selfish motivations. But as Christ welcomes us into friendship, we have to grow roots. We have to commit to people. We have to be known.
This will take more than a week. That is one of the reasons why I ask our servants and friends to commit to being present at South Street over the summer. Relationships take time. Community development requires commitment and presence.
We all start from somewhere, but as we grow as Christians, we must move towards Holy Friendships. You're invited this summer into a friendship. Come to South Street and help build bikes, tend gardens, and teach kids. Continue at South Street as an unlikely partner and friend working together to welcome in God's Coming Kingdom, this Beloved Community full of Holy Friendships.