By KJ Hill
Our hope is that through ServeRDU many of our people who are not currently serving outside our church will find new opportunities to serve our community with the anticipation of developing new long-lasting relationships. We want it to be clear that the purpose of ServeRDU is not to create a one-time event but rather an intersection for new relationships with our marginalized neighbors. One of the things we like to say around here is that Discipleship Happens in Relationships. And for us, ServeRDU is a means of creating opportunities for relationships where discipleship happens.
Our Community Development and Local Outreach Team has been spending a lot of time over the last few months looking at scripture and marveling at God’s heart for the poor and marginalized and there are a couple things that really stand out. First, caring for the poor and marginalized is an expectation for all disciples (Matthew 25.31-46; Luke 4.18-19; Acts 20.35; Galatians 2.10; James 1.27). ServeRDU provides an on-ramp for people who want to serve but maybe aren’t sure where opportunities exist. Second, the work of all disciples is discipleship (Matthew 28.18-20) and loving others and teaching others to love others is part of discipleship. Therefore, ServeRDU is primarily a discipleship activity. We believe that serving our neighbors is not something separate from discipleship, but an important aspect of discipleship. The Bible doesn’t have a category or a calling specific to people who love the poor. It was expected that every disciple loved and cared for the poor, not exclusively, but purposefully. Unfortunately, not every Christian intersects with poverty or the margins. Which means that in order to obey Jesus we have to work hard and be intentional to rearrange our lives so that we can have meaningful relationships with our marginalized neighbors.
Jesus was radical. Part of what made him so radical was that he re-ordered the social hierarchy. We see it clearly in verses like Matthew 19.30 when he said the first will be last and the last will be first and in Luke 14.13 when he said that when we have guests over we should invite people from the margins, and in Mark 10.42 when he reminded his listeners that the gentiles lord it over them but that they ought to be people who serve. Those on the margins are being brought to the center and those of us that find ourselves in the center ought to focus on using our place of privilege to serve others not to cling to a social status.
Our ServeRDU projects are intended to create an intersection for discipleship to happen, where the poor and the privileged find meaningful relationships and both people are transformed. All of our ServeRDU partners have opportunities for everyone to get engaged beyond just the week of ServeRDU. Our hope and prayer is that this summer ServeRDU will become a starting point for many from Summit to become engaged in serving our poor and marginalized neighbors in long-term, meaning-filled relationships that create new and more mature disciples, because discipleship happens in relationship. For more information and to sign up, go to www.serveRDU.com.