Our FBC works for a Northern Virginia school system and one of his recent assignments was to film a practice session for The Capitals, the NHL team in Washington, DC. Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin recently broke Gordie Howe’s all-time record to score his 802nd goal.
This article tells of the exciting day when 802 fourth and fifth graders from Arlington, VA public schools were invited to attend the Capitals’ practice. Each class got to have their photos taken with Ovechkin. Each student received a t-shirt. Every child had learned how to spell “Ovechkin” making signs to wave during the practice.
What the article doesn’t report is that all the school bus drivers also got to pose for photos with Ovechkin and each received a gift card from The Capitals to enjoy a lunch out. The Capitals didn’t have to do this, but it was a simple gesture to build community and show appreciation.
We in the Church say that we want to be relational. We want to reach out into the community. We want to connect with neighbors. The Capitals, who practice in Arlington, VA, show us how to do this.
Every congregation has neighbors like the volunteer fire department or the local sheriff’s department or the postal workers or the sanitation workers or the school teachers and staff. When was the last time our congregations contacted them to ask if there was anything they needed? (And then we provided it.) Have we ever hosted a “thank you” event for them? Or have we given small gift cards to all the employees in their building?
Why do we do this? I can tell you why we don’t do this:
We don’t do these things so that our neighbors will join our churches. It’s never about that.
This is not a transactional activity. Maybe (like the gift cards for the bus drivers) we don’t even share publicly that we’ve offered this kindness.
Community is created when we show appreciation, when we honor the overlooked, when we consider those who make our lives better/easier/safer.
You would never have known about the gifts cards to bus drivers if I hadn’t shared this via FBC. It wasn’t done for the sake of public relations. It was done for the sake of building community. So simple.