We started some time ago at The Bridge Church to wear loud, kiwi green t-shirts anytime we went out and did ministry or outreach (whatever you wish to call it) as a group. It has become something of a trademark. We even give disclaimers in our announcements that a certain event is a “Green Shirt Affair”. We have fun doing it and it gives us a sense of community as we go out into the mission field together. Last fall, we went door-to-door in a specific community 3-4 months in a row. We went to people’s homes giving away free light bulbs, free cereal, and free Halloween candy. By the third trip we were beginning to have people recognize who we were…I remember a sweet 126 year old lady say to me….”You are that church that gives away free stuff…..I remember all the green shirts” =) It was nice to know that at least she remembered us…even it was just because of our choice of fashion!
In Acts 2, there is a description of the early church and how they related to one another…they had “all things in common” and were sharing and providing for one another. They fellowshipped together, they were open with one another and it says they “praised God continually”. Then the scripture says something interesting….it says that they “had favor with all the people”. The early church was recognized by the community around it…and not only that…but the local community thought highly of them. Their love for others and their sincerity of faith gave them a positive reputation in the community. The people may not have agreed with everything the church taught or said…and the entire community certainly didn’t come to faith…but they could not deny that the church had something different.
If the early church had a reputation…then the local churches today have them as well. Sometimes…it isn’t always good. “They are always fighting at that church.”…..”Don’t go to that church unless you just want to be judged by everyone”….”One family runs that church…you had better stay away”. But what if we could have a reputation for love? What if the community around us actually thought well of us? What if even the staunchest of atheists could not deny the sincerity of heart for people that a local community of believers had? Here’s the thing…if we don’t take the initiative give ourselves a reputation…someone will make one up for us…
A vision of The Bridge Church I have often shared with others is seeing hundreds of obnoxious green shirts, all over the greater Evansville area, performing acts of service, love and kindness and pointing others to the source of that love in the person of Christ Himself. I guess its good to be known as the church with the kiwi shirts….but its even better to be known as the church that actually cares. Let me encourage you to never let your heart grow cold…let Christ’s example of compassion and the love of His gospel overflow in your life.
May our love be as loud as our shirts!
Soli Deo Gloria