Today was one of my favorite days because it was our annual Church Clothing Give away. I want to share a little about it and some details because I've had a lot of people ask me about how it works. I also want to share a little of my heart about this.
First of all, this was started by some women at our church about 12-14 years ago. They saw a need in our community and our church gathered around it. I love this event because I love seeing our church body work together so hard to meet needs in our community. I'm SO thankful for a church that isn't just there to hold a service on Sundays but has a purpose to point people to Jesus and to also be the hands and feet of Christ.
I want to share the details in case some of you might have the desire to do something similar in your churches. My church does many other things to help those around us and I'm hoping we will even open our hearts to do more and more.
The week leading up to this Saturday, we have people who work at the church from 8 - 8 every day taking in clothes and organizing. People come in shifts and just work when they can. I wasn't able to work as much this year as I have in the past but I tried to go as much as I could. Church members (and other people in our area) bring clothes to donate. We have a huge room that is filled with adult clothing and sorted by sizes. We put jeans and pants on tables and hang everything else - we even have hats, jewelry and purses. Then in the halls we line them with shoes by size.
In another big room, we have all the children's clothes. That is our biggest need. It takes so much work to sort all the clothes out and hang them. It's a huge job and takes a ton of workers. And it's so much fun to work along side my friends at this.
This is publicized really by word of mouth. I think originally they spread the word through schools but now people just know. People actually line up at night and camp out to be first in line. We open the doors at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. We have a group that comes at 6 to serve breakfast to the people in line.
Adult clothes have no limit but each adult gets 20 tickets for children items. The give away lasts until noon and then people can come back again to get more after that. We do this right before school starts to help with back to school clothes. We normally serve about 500 families.
We also have prayer teams that will pray with the families if they want and share Jesus with them. There are always people who get saved through this ministry.
I want you to know why I share this and why I share about a lot of ministries I'm involved in or Bible Studies I do. I had a comment this week that has really been rattling around in my head. The person I know didn't mean any ugliness but they felt that I shared these things basically to give myself glory and so people would think I was a good Christian. And that really stung. Because first of all - I don't think there is any such thing as a "Good Christian". We are all sinners before a Holy God. He says Himself that our finest works are like filthy rags to Him. I helped a little with the clothing giveaway but I don't get any glory for it. I want to share because I love that my church does this and my hope is to encourage other churches to do something similar. I get so many ideas from hearing what other churches do and finding ministries to get involved in.
In fact, I follow a lot of Christian leaders and speakers and authors and pastors on social media and I see many share ministries or service opportunities they are involved in and I don't think it's because they want glory either. I think it's because they know they have a platform and they hope to show people ideas on how to know Christ more or serve Him by serving others.
If I was posting pictures of checks we wrote to ministries or me buying groceries for a family in need or other things we do in private - THAT would be a great reason to call me out. We do a lot of things secretly that we don't want glory for - in fact we try to do most anonymously because it's Christ not us. But if I have the chance to share a great Bible study that I've done that might encourage someone or an idea on how to get involved in service, I'm going to do it because I know there are so many of you that read here that are new in your Christian walk and really and truly need ideas. I shared about prayer walking around Harper's schools not because I was trying to be a pharisee and openly share my prayers out loud (although I can totally see how it might seem like that) but I thought there were a lot of you who might never have thought to do that and might be encouraged to. (Prayer walking isn't anything weird - I don't do anything different than when I'm just out walking in the neighborhood except instead of the sidewalk - I just walk around the school and silently pray).
And also - Christians get a bad enough rap these days. I want to show that there are things we do that truly are good and well intentioned. Most of us just want to love on people they way God has loved us.
I'm not battling back to the comment that was left because I think it was fair and very thought provoking to me but I do want to open up a discussion of why I think sharing ministry ideas with one another can be beneficial. I promise - I don't care anything about Kelly Stamps getting glory or anyone saying "wow she's a great Christian". I want people to say "wow - what a great GOD".