More than 150 projects took place during Serve Fresno Week, with 40+ churches participating. There were 11 park clean-ups, 6 school beautification projects, and 1000’s of hours of raking, shoveling, cleaning, beautifying, painting, blessing, playing, crafting, tutoring, bike fixing, advocating and encouraging!
Projects blessed many non-profit organizations, including Poverello House, Youth for Christ, Rescue the Children, Campus Life, Spirit of Woman, Community Food Bank and Marjaree Mason Center. The data is truly impressive, but it’s the stories that share impact!
In the Sequoia Neighborhood, two projects were coordinated by Clovis Hills in coordination with the principal and vice principal at Sequoia Middle School. They invited students, parents and staff to join them for an alley clean-up project on Thursday and a campus beautification on Saturday.
The relationship that has been built over the years between Clovis Hills and Sequoia is a true partnership, evident by the church’s presence neighborhood throughout the year. They are seeing the value of including students, staff and families. We will enjoy watching this partnership (and these relationships) continue to grow.
At the Lafayette Park Clean-up Project, folks from two different churches were there sweeping, raking and cleaning up this beautiful park. A little boy came by and asked what they were doing. One of the volunteers told him, “Some friends from my church and Pastor Oputa’s church are cleaning up the park tonight. The little boy then asked, “Can I help?”
“Of course you can!” they said. Then he worked alongside volunteers until the project was done. He knows Pastor Oputa from Saturday Sports which takes place at Lafayette Park twice a month. He also now has a glimpse of other ways The Church serves and loves his neighborhood . . . and he wants to be a part.
GREAT STORIES FROM ACROSS THE CITY
A life group from The Well helped organize a celebration with a small church in Sanger for for kids in this farming neighborhood. It was a huge success! When the volunteers found out the church struggles to do this event every month, they decided that together their life group would take it on as a monthly project.
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At the 4141 Ministries project, a couple Fresno State volunteers signed up to serve. One of the girls, now a freshman at Fresno State, (not so many years ago) faithfully attended one of the first Saturday Sports Programs in Fresno. She grew up seeing The Church love and serve her neighborhood and in the process a strong relationship was built with her family. Now she is finding ways to follow that example of service and giving back to her city.
In serving we are not simply doing something that needs to be done, and not just so we can check “serving” off our to-do list. In the process of serving, we learn more about our city and the people we would not get the chance to know if we didn’t spend time in their neighborhood. We are hearing the stories and learning about needs of the people, organizations that are serving and the opportunities we have to walk alongside them, support and encouragement them.
LIVES ARE BEING IMPACTED
It was an amazing week to watch THE CHURCH united in serving Fresno (and beyond!) It also brought a lot of folks from our churches outside the walls of buildings, into the heart of our city and into the lives of the people.
In serving, we are setting an example for our children, for the Church, and our city. We may never see the full impact, but in the process of serving He brings people into our lives; and while we think we were there to make a difference in THEIR neighborhood, He often uses the opportunity to make in impact in OUR hearts!
It is the Mission of ENP to help churches partner with elementary schools and neighborhoods in our city, with a vision of seeing the Church deeply engaged and invested, not for just a week, but throughout the year. It is the goal of ENP to see a church partnering with every neighborhood in our city, to see our schools supported and blessed as they teach OUR kids. Ultimate goal: healthy families and a thriving city! During Serve Fresno Week it felt like THE CHURCH made a giant step toward that goal!
*SERVE FRESNO is a movement of churches united in serving the city as the body of Christ . . . not just for a week, but throughout the year! This movement WILL continue and we look forward to watching it it grow.
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“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
*Check out the Serve Fresno Week highlight video on the home page.