Southern Indiana Church Seizes Strategic Opportunities on the Calendar to Serve

 In All Church of God, Change the Story, CHOG, Great Lakes

By Mykaela Alvey

A church is so much more than a building. It is the body of believers. We are so encouraged when we see churches leave the four walls of their building and impact their community through service. Granted, this is not uncommon these days for many churches. But Crossroads Community Church in New Albany, Indiana, has a unique way of making sure they are serving out in the community on a regular, recurring basis.

Whenever a fifth Sunday falls on the calendar, Crossroads Community commits to serving as a church body in their community. Pastor Terry Blackford says they started doing this because they wanted their regular church volunteers to actively enjoy the experience of serving together.

Pastor Blackford said, “Our volunteers were doing a ton of work for us during COVID to keep our doors open, [so] we wanted to give them a place and space to be in community with the rest of us.” They also noticed that COVID had affected the shut-ins in their community, and they wanted to help however they could.

“By doing it every fifth Sunday, it gave their volunteers a chance to join and gave them consistent times of service. Before going out in their community, they always meet at the church to pray. “This past fifth Sunday, we had a group do nothing but a time of prayer at the church to pray over our community, our church, and our shut-ins, while two other groups went out to serve one of our nonprofits and one of our shut-ins.”

Serving the community is vitally important to Crossroads Community.

Crossroads recognizes that, as a church of 140 congregants, there are only so many places they can go, time they can serve, and projects they can accomplish. Yet they can offer service through their congregation and the use of their building beyond Sunday morning, so they will—and they do.

“We have over five different nonprofits using our building for free throughout the week, said, Pastor Blackford. When they serve, they try to do things that everyone can participate in somehow. Recently they collected food to give to their local food pantry.

Much of the congregation helped by packing care bags for the homeless. But for those who couldn’t stand and assemble the bags, they could donate supplies or dollars. Everyone was involved in some capacity. “We had all ages from 2 to 82 there that day to serve.” As a result, Crossroads Community was able to pack 1,200 bags of food.

Pastor Blackford has one very important thing to say to any churches who are considering doing this. “Start somewhere. Be outward-focused.” There are so many communities still reeling from the effects of COVID, and there are so many churches that are stepping up in their community and being examples of Christ’s love.

“Sunday morning is a time of celebration for what we were able to do throughout the week,” he said. “Meaning, we are so involved with our community Monday through Saturday that we can’t help but celebrate and worship what God has done because of our time in the community.”

Anderson University alumna Mykaela Alvey is a funding US missionary based in Greenwood, Indiana. A freelance writer for three years, she loves crafting stories of hope and healing.

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