A Super Souper Bowl of Caring
It is inspiring to see First Presbyterian Church’s enthusiastic support of this year’s ALL CHURCH SOUPER BOWL of CARING project held at the Multi-Cultural Center on February 4, from 12 noon to 4 pm.
Church Youth, the Neighborhood Care Team of the Deacons, children through January’s Children’s Offering, Presbyterian Women through baking cookies, our Congregational Care Coordinator and Associate Pastor are collaborating together to offer soup and fellowship to those in our community who are hungry and in need.
The church’s response has been awesome. Over 30 volunteers consisting of all ages from within the congregation have signed up to help serve and greet guests alongside our youth and Deacons.
We anticipate serving and ministering to 300 to 400 people. Stop and think about that again. What we do on Feb 4, will have an impact in the lives of 300 to 400 people in our local community. Without a doubt, it also will impact those of us who serve.
In lots of ways, this event captures the essence of the vision of our congregation to be present as the Visible Face of Christ in the Sioux Falls area. As the Visible Face of Christ, we strive to connect, serve and grow with God and others within our congregation so that we may in turn connect, serve and grow with God and others beyond ourselves. We believe that even as we strive to bear the face of Christ in our relationships with our neighbors, we will find the face of Christ in the very neighbors we serve.
Mark Allan Powell, pastor and author, writes,
“The mission of the church is simply to love Jesus. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” and told him three times, “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Providing food is one of the many important things that Jesus wants the church to do. But Jesus doesn’t just want the sheep to be fed; he wants them to be fed by those who love him.”
Picking up where Powell left off, pastor and author Rick Barger writes,
“The mission of the church is simply to be the redundant result of what God did on Easter, the passionate people whom God has brought into being by raising Jesus from the dead.”
Powell and Barger remind us that we have a sacred story to tell. We aren’t the spiritual version of a community center. Our identity and calling have everything to do with resurrection. This is what we proclaim in worship and in our faithful living, “The old way of living has been put to death, new life has begun!” Barger writes, “The event of Jesus is not just something that God did for the world. It is also something God did to the world.”
We remind ourselves of this sacred story – what is true - as we gather for worship. We encounter God’s presence through song, liturgy, prayer, fellowship, service and compassion. We offer each other and others beyond ourselves evidence that God is at work.
This is a good and hopeful time to be a part of First Presbyterian Church. God is up to something right now in our church. God is stretching us and shaping us as we discern and respond to our calling. It seems that the church’s ancient story, our story, is happening to us.
Rev. Nathan Esser
Nathan is the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.