On June 4 and 5, 350 Edmonton, Alberta area students were mowing grass, feeding the homeless and painting over graffiti.
These people were involved in Community Action Projects, which is one of many elements leading up to a Rock the River concert that help prepare a city for the event. Most of the people involved have been through FM419 evangelism training to prepare them to counsel someone with a response to the Gospel message or to simply help someone share Christ with his or her friends.
“The Community Action Projects are chances for students to do practical, hands-on ministry, and demonstrations of goodness,” said Jeff Anderson, Director of North America Festivals for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“Some teams host a cookout on the respective Saturday evening to close out the event. They invite the neighborhood they have served to come enjoy a meal. This gives team the opportunity to engage in conversation with members of their community and invite them to Rock the River West.”
In a couple of the cities, there are beautification projects where students are helping to bring much needed revitalization to areas identified by city leadership.
But, some of the acts of service were very personal. There was one local girl who was being bullied at a public school she attended. Fed up, her parents placed her in a Christian school. However, the bullying continued from the kids at the public school. Eggs were thrown at her house and graffiti started showing up on her fence. This family painted over the graffiti, only to have it reappear.
Kids from her new Christian school came and painted this family’s fence as a part of a Community Action Project.
Here are a few other examples of Community Action Projects that took place over that weekend:
- The first night there was a kickoff concert to benefit an organization called DROP, an acronym for Daring to Reach Orphaned People. Food and t-shirt sales, along with game rentals, were used to reach orphans in a region of Africa. 600 people were in attendance.
- 50 members of Beulah Alliance Church partnered with the Calgary Police Department to help reduce crime in their community. They went to 3,000 homes to help the police pass out crime prevention packets as part of a pilot project.
- Another group of students painted a homeless shelter called the Christian Care Center. Once they were done, they served a meal to around 300 homeless people at that very same center.
“This is a great way for us to mobilize our young people, or anybody who has attended the FM419 training, to make a difference in community by meeting practical needs,” said Anderson.
This weekend, around 700 Calgary-area youth will prepare their land for spiritual harvest though these same kinds of acts of service.
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