Our Time to Shine
I know this may shock you, but I love the season we are in. I don’t like that people are dying. I don’t like that people are losing their jobs. In fact, the list of things I don’t like is rather long. But I love how we, the church, have the best opportunity, maybe in my lifetime, to fulfill our mission. Being the church is not about gathering in a building. Being the church is when we bring the love of Jesus to others and shine like a bright light in the darkness.
The Early Christians
Did you know that when the church first began, it was considered a dangerous cult by the Roman Empire and was severely persecuted? In the absence of our modern understanding of disease and proper sanitation, pandemics were common back then. And when the pandemics hit, it was the Christians who refused to flee the cities and stayed and served the sick, risking their own lives. That was a key turning point for the church. The Romans realized that Christians actually loved people and sacrificed to serve and gained the respect of many.
The mission God has given our church is more important than ever – loving people to Jesus, launching passionate people to make a difference. This is the time to be on mission. This is not a time for our church to hunker down in fear. This is our opportunity to rise up and serve our city in the name of Jesus. And this week, we are in full focus to do just that. Here’s how you can love people to Jesus:
If you have a need, or if you know of someone in need, we have an awesome team of volunteers that are willing to shop for folks and help with groceries & supplies. Fill out a request by going to pantano.church. On the front page, you’ll see a red section called “Loving Our City.” You can let us know if you or someone needs help or you can sign up to volunteer.
Collection and Distribution
We are also collecting items needed by the Department of Child Safety, the Gospel Rescue Mission, AZ Baptist Children’s Services and specific families in need. Go to the Loving Our City page at pantano.church/lovingourcity and you’ll find the list of items these groups need. Drop them off at the office curbside bins at the East Campus (1755 S. Houghton Rd.) Mon-Fri 9am-4pm.
Front Line Hospital Staff
Pantano Christian Church is the point of contact for TMC and St. Joseph’s hospitals. Here’s what they’ve asked the church for and what’s in the works:
There are hundreds of ways you can love people to Jesus. Folks in our church are mailing cards to those stuck at home. At last count, over 600 face masks have been made and delivered. Look for ways to serve folks in your neighborhood or network of relationships. Find a way to encourage, serve and lift up someone in this time of huge disruption. All of these things can be done in a safe way that respects physical distancing.
Now, more than ever is our opportunity to be Jesus to our city. Rise up church, and make a difference that not only affects life today but also for eternity.
This Sunday we will dismiss our regular services at both our East Campus and Southeast Campus in order to Serve Our City! There will be NO REGULAR SERVICES this Sunday, November 17th. However, there are some projects being done at the East Campus (1755 Houghton Road) for those who are physically not able to travel or do some of the other projects.
You can pick up a Serve Our City t-shirt at the East Campus during regular business hours (8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday) and Sunday morning November 17th. If you signed up last year, wear your Serve Our City t-shirt!
If you haven’t yet signed up there are still openings, or, you can choose your own service option. Maybe there is someone in your neighborhood that needs help with their yard? Maybe you’ve met someone at work, school, or at a retail store that you know needs some help. Be creative! List your service project at https://mypantano.church/serveourcity. After clicking the “Sign Up” button, you’ll find a tab at the top labeled “Serve Your Neighborhood”.
But why? Why are we canceling services to work all across Tucson? Because that’s what the church should be doing. For too long, many in our culture have seen the church as a non-property tax paying leach on society. Okay, there’s a lot of other issues behind those views like a general disdain for any faith. However, we believe God has called our church to invest and make a difference in our city. Our mission is to love people to Jesus, launching passionate people to make a difference!
If all of a sudden, Pantano Christian were not here, I would hope that our community would miss our positive influence. We’ve committed to helping the Department of Child Safety be able to provide more foster families and reunite families through Care Portal and more. We’ve helped start and support numerous community organizations that serve our city, like Haven Totes, that provide food for low-income kids on the weekends. We regularly serve our schools, like our team at Mary Meredith that mentors and serves kids with learning disabilities. God has called us to help make life better here in this world and guide people to Jesus to find life that never ends in the next world.
But there’s another reason why we Serve Our City; as we leave the walls of the church, we enter into the lives of real people with real needs. On Sunday, don’t miss the opportunity to connect with and encourage those you are serving. Don’t get so engrossed in doing the work that you forget to engage the people you are serving with side by side. It’s not just about getting work done. It’s about connecting with people and serving people as well. Use this Sunday to be generous with your words, your actions, and your resources as you attempt to bless all those involved.