A Culture of Kindness
A woman stands on a street corner holding a sign. She’s dirty with torn clothes and a hardened look on her face. Nearby, a little boy, no more than five, plays in the dirt. He doesn’t seem to notice the cars rushing past as he piles tiny rocks, occasionally glancing up to smile at his mom. As you watch this scenario play out, you wonder who she is and why she’s there. You long to do something to help her. In the blink of an eye, a woman many would deem unworthy of their time suddenly becomes a mother, willing to throw all self-preservation out the window to provide for her son. This is real.
As humans our natural response is to help others. Being uncomfortable with despair is something God placed in us on purpose. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV) Many Christians say missions is not something they have been called to do. But in Matthew 28:19 and many other places in the Bible, missions is exactly what God has called all of us to do. As the world’s heartache increases each day, missions becomes more than trips in and out of countries for weeks and months at a time. It becomes spreading the message of Christ through our daily actions of serving others no matter how big or small the act.
Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn. believes serving others happens daily, outside the walls of the church. In fact, serving is one of the most talked about visions of Cross Point. According to Lead Pastor Pete Wilson, “Missions was never intended to be a program in the church; it’s the whole reason for the church.” The members of Cross Point live this out by embracing the many organizations and ministries the church partners with both locally and globally.
This is a group of believers that takes it’s mission seriously. In the last year alone, Cross Point has...
-Traveled to various parts of Alabama and Joplin, Mo., bringing tornado relief, including all kinds of "clean-up" supplies, chain saws, wheel barrows, rakes, shovels, and more. They removed debris, gutted homes damaged by water, painted houses and prayed with believers and non-believers alike.
-Continued to travel to Wheelwright, Ky., a poor Appalachian town, addressing local needs. This year, CP took construction equipment and supplies, gutted a home, installed siding on a home, worked on roofs, ran a VBS for the local kids, visited a government-run special needs nursing home. The church also stocked the local food pantry with eight pallets of food.
-Donated and delivered, in partnership with Soles 4 Souls throughout the year, six pallets of car seats and strollers to tornado victims in Alabama, and one pallet to Wheelwright.
-Saved hundreds of families thousands of dollars in demolition costs, when Nashville and surrounding areas were devastated by floods. More than 2000 Cross Point volunteers showed up, every day, for weeks, helping over 400 families tear out their water-ravaged houses.
And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
Cross Point doesn’t believe in doing something once and calling it “good.” Serving is an ongoing, long-term process. Apart from regular mission trips to India, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and recently Africa, Cross Point has adopted the town of Wheelwright, Ky. in the Appalachian Mountains. With as prosperous as the United States is, it is hard to imagine people in our own backyard living in poverty similar to Developing World countries. Wheelwright is one of those areas that Cross Point visits a few times a year to provide clean up, maintenance, clothing, food, and love. Cross Point Missions Pastor, Ryan Bult, is passionate about the focus of the church. “We believe we are building a culture here; a culture of service where people don’t have to think about it, they just do it. They go, ‘this is what we’re called to do. We do it.’ We build that culture. It helps our kids grow up to do the same things and to live the way Jesus would ask us to live.”
Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “I tell you in truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” What that means to Cross Point is that Monday’s when we play with the children at Safe Haven (transitional housing for homeless families in Nashville), we are reading and laughing with Jesus. Tuesday’s when we feed and worship with the homeless at The Bridge Ministry, we are feeding and worshiping with Jesus. Wednesday’s when Cross Pointers are sitting with African refugees teaching them ESL, they are teaching Jesus how to speak the language that will help him find a job and care for his family in a foreign country.
Each day Ryan and the rest of the church staff and volunteers explore how they can evolve random acts of kindness into a regular routine. “At Cross Point we want to be a church that not only talks about serving, but actually does it. It’s one thing to talk about things and all the people that are hurting and in need and to go, the Bible calls us to do such things. But it’s much different to actually step out of your comfort zone and impact people and your community, across this country or across this world and really build a community in a way that’s pleasing to God.”
Earlier this year all five Cross Point campuses participated in “Serve 4 Seven.” Throughout the seven days leading up to Easter, Cross Pointers were encouraged to do daily random acts of kindness. Nashville quickly became a hot spot of humanity. People paid for each other’s meals, passed out water to the homeless, visited nursing homes, and so much more to impact those around them with the love of Christ.
What many discovered or reconnected with is how much joy comes from serving others. As you begin to take the focus off of yourself, you start understanding that God didn’t create us to tackle this world alone. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV) In a world thirsty for healing and hope, the words of Paul serve as a reminder that each day we have the opportunity to lift each other up as one body in pursuit of the one Lord that will bring us eternal peace.
To read more about how the people of Cross Point Church are making a difference, go to www.crosspoint.tv.
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