Last month, at the Church United Night of Worship and Celebration we heard story after story of uncommon generosity, church unity and collaborative efforts to spread faith, hope and love across South Florida. Pastors, ministry leaders and congregants came together, putting down their logo and embracing one another as fellow believers: praying together, serving together and giving together. If you missed the service, here are a few highlights of what God did.
Little House Coin Banks
Collectively we raised money to bless local schools, nonprofits, ministries and local families. When Broward County government came to us, asking that we join alongside the business community to raise awareness and support for homeless children, individuals and families, we said YES. We distributed thousands of little house coin banks throughout our churches and children ministries, raising thousands of dollars to help rapidly re-house those who are homeless in our community. We distributed thousands of pounds of food to bless families in need. We served countless hours, shoulder to shoulder with other churches to see our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces become more loving, just and merciful places.
Acts of Generosity
A group of churches in West Broward linked arms together to raise money for Firewall Centers so that they can continue their work of providing after school tutoring and mentorship. One church partnered with a church down the road to raise the money necessary to provide four additional transitional housing units for single mothers and their children. Another group of churches paid December’s tuition at a local daycare, while another group collaborated to provide a thanksgiving turkey to every single house in an underserved neighborhood. Furthermore, another group went to a local elementary school to pray over every teacher and student. The list could go on and on.
Hurricane Dorian Aid
When hurricane Dorian hit our friends and neighbors in the Bahamas, over 50 churches here in South Florida rallied together in collaboration with the National Christian Foundation and raised just over $1,000,000 to provide long term hope and care for those whose lives were affected by the storm. We wanted to be there long after the story was out of the news and a distant memory in the minds of the world and deploy resources to help rebuild the “capital C” church and care for pastors.
To date we’ve used these resources to deploy the Samaritans Purse field hospital to help care for the immediate medical needs of those in the hardest hit areas. We’re funding church rebuilding projects in Marsh Harbor, and we’re funding the salaries of pastors like, Edwin Pinder, who has served at New Emmanuel Baptist Church in McLean’s Town for 20 years and lost his home and his church to Hurricane Dorian. In response to the relief funds granted to him, he shared: “To all of you who were moved to help us: thank you very much, the Blessing of the Lord be with you. You have no idea what it means to me, our church, the churches of the Islands, and Christians here that our brothers and sisters in South Florida are standing with us…”
The bottom line is this: God’s people ran towards the lostness, brokenness and pain of our region during the holiday season. However, the work of Christmas begins now. Christmas reminds us that Christ came to find the lost, heal the broken, mend the pain, feed the hungry, bring peace and make all things new. The Holiday season reorients God’s people to our calling to carry the work of Christmas into every place our influence extends. Christmas reminds us that we are not alone and that our hope does not lie in who is in the White House, how much money is in our bank accounts or the title at the end of our name. Our hope is in the one who came to redeem and reconcile all things – to set the world back to the way it was created to be. If you’re reading this and have placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ then you are an agent of hope. You, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are the way the lost will be found, the brokenness will be fixed and the pain will be healed. Your words, your presence, your generosity and your sacrificial service towards your friends, neighbors and coworkers is the way the work of Christmas continues.
As we begin the New Year, let us be reminded that the work of Christmas starts now.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunited.city