In some cultures, I’ve learned that when an individual is celebrating a milestone of some sort, the individual gives gifts to those who have helped him or her to achieve the milestone, rather than the common North American tradition of others bringing gifts to the individual. I’ve come to appreciate that.
This year, our church decided to try that approach. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary of ministry and service to our community, so last Wednesday evening, we borrowed an idea from a friend of mine, and hired an ice cream truck to roam the streets of town for an evening. We stopped at a seniors’ residence, a soccer pitch, and a community park – and for any passersby as we journeyed along. People were expecting to have to pay for the ice cream.
But they didn’t. We did.
Why? We did it to invite our community to celebrate with us, and to get the word out that serving Jesus and having fun can be compatible.
We weren’t preaching to anyone. We told them St. Paul’s was celebrating its 60th anniversary by giving away ice cream cones. The driver/server of the ice cream truck was so thrilled at what we were doing that he told everybody he gave a cone to where the church is and what time worship begins!
Will this result in higher attendance? Possibly, but not likely. That’s not really why we did it. But if our act of kindness to our community planted a seed or two, it will have been successful. You never know what opportunities may come about down the road because we offered an ice cream cone on a warm evening, in Jesus’ name.
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically” (Romans 12.11, NLT).