Freely Give

perry-paintAlliance congregations across the United States are taking new approaches to ministry, moving beyond just talking about Christ’s love to actually showing it. Pastor Rick Gates has led his Crossroads Church congregation in Perry, Iowa, out of the sanctuary to shine the light of Christ during a Week of Service in their community. Church members have completed 40 projects in four years. Local TV news shows have reported the “free help” that Crossroads provided for the community in June.

The Week of Service initiative began in 2005, when Gates offered to shampoo carpets at a local school. Other church members cleaned windshields at a grocery store and distributed complimentary water bottles at community functions.

“Our culture today knows nothing of the church except that it expects people to give money and attend services for no meaningful or relevant purpose,” says Gates.  “The church is not connected to their daily lives and does not make sense to them. Jesus talks a lot about being servants . . . as we serve, people slowly begin to see Jesus.”

Open Doors

Since these outreaches began, many civic groups and individuals have solicited the church’s help. As the requests come into the church for projects in the community, church members go out and serve-free of charge. They have painted 10 classrooms and shampooed carpets in a local school, saving the school district hundreds of dollars. A deck has been built, ground tilled, and grass planted

perry-fire“A widow was grateful when some of our people helped her burn a huge pile of brush behind her home,” Gates says. She was amazed to receive all of the help without being charged. Other people in the community, who are not members of Crossroads Church, have joined to help out with projects just to be part of the excitement.”

Heather, a single mother, started attending Crossroads recently. “I can relate to a church that reaches out to others instead of just taking care of its own needs,” she says. “That’s why I’m here with my daughter, and that’s what I want to be a part of.” Heather now wants to do something to help someone else soon!

The doors are open for cross-cultural outreach as well. During the weekend of September 12-13, 2009, Crossroads Church hosted “Booth of Hope” at a Latino festival in town, giving away bottles of water and New Testament Bibles.

“We want to be involved in cross-cultural events in order to engage their culture,” Gates says. “We want to share God’s love in tangible ways and be ‘Jesus with skin on’ in our community.” 

Learn More

Read how other U.S. Alliance churches are impacting their communities

What You Can Do

Pray for open hearts as the Crossroads family interacts with their friends and neighbors.

Donate to Alliance Great Commission Ministries.


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