A Vision for Service and Community

What follows is a vision I put together for serving the community and building community. It’s only on paper at this point, and is written in the context of Fort Collins, Colorado. The ideas aren’t particularly new, as they are largely derived from my college experience. I’m curious what these what look like in a church context, here. There are a lot of ideas underneath this. Part of what’s driving it is my desire to serve people more and to help build community. Also, when considering the economy, worldwide, living in community and building relationships with people outside my comfort zone and serving the poor just seems the thing to do. Of course, there’s nothing noble about it unless I follow through with it.

Local Service Teams
• A team would have a leader and coordinate service and/or outreach by either partnering with a local service organization or creating a team with a specific purpose. An example of the former would be a team that serves regularly at the Open Door Mission. An example of the latter might be a group that uses the arts to reach out on the street.
• The structure could require a service director who oversees coordinators (such as Youth, Tutoring, Creative Arts, Urban, etc) who in turn oversee leaders of specific service teams.
• A service team would have a leader and perform ongoing service locally. If with an organization, this would require a commitment on the leader’s part to bring a team to a regular basis (every week, every other week, etc).
• This format allows people to be a part of a team and not just serve solo. Jesus and the early church sent people out as teams of at least two (2).
• Volunteering together allows for relationships to be built with other team members. Since volunteering is sometimes uncomfortable and difficult, this environment is very conducive to this purpose.
• Relationships can only be built with the organization and the people they serve by ongoing service.
• Most organizations need committed volunteers, not one-off volunteers.
• Some organizations are cynical when approached by people who want to serve because the volunteers say they want to help, but aren’t committed. Similarly, many people who we want to serve are used to Christians who come in to serve and help, and who either don’t stay long or leave when it gets difficult. It takes time to build trust.
• Being a neighbor to people may require us to get out of our comfort zones. It is too easy to isolate ourselves from suffering and those in need. God’s concern for the poor and oppressed is unmistakable.
• Serving people outside our comfort zones gives us an opportunity to learn, live out what we say we believe, and build our faith.

Service Trips
• These would be service-oriented trips outside of Northern Colorado.
• Trips could occur during fall break, winter break, spring break, or summer.
• In the summer, it would be possible to have a 1-2 week service trip overseas.
• Coordinator: Someone would need to organize and coordinate the service trip(s).
• Leader: Someone would have to lead the trip. The leader may or may not be the coordinator.
• The leadership structure would depend on the number of trips. If the program developed, a coordinator would organize, promote, and recruit team members, and would then pass on to the leader to build and lead the team.

Service-Learning Group
• I went through a service-learning course in college, and still have the curriculum.
• If we went with this format, it would involve a commitment to volunteer/serve locally and a meeting to do the following: encourage, support, pray, reflect, study, learn, etc.
• The meeting would likely be shorter than a small group session would be.
• We could either volunteer at the same place or different places, though ideally it would be good if we were in terms of 2.
• A service-oriented job would be an option.
• Serving outside our comfort zone would be ideal.

Community House
• Acquire house/duplex in or near Old Town.
• If possible, convert to boarding house to bypass 3-unrelated limit.
• Ideally the house would be 6-10 people, possibly coed.
• Commit to living in community and serving locally for a year.
• Serving component would likely be 3+ hours of ongoing service a week.
• People would ideally serve in groups of 2 or 3.
• There would be one weekly dinner and/or meeting with the group.
• I have a few different community house visions written shortly after college, as well as people I could ask advice from. A new plan could then be written.