Last week we shared one of the the impacts of Keystone Church (Keystone) and their partnership with Saline Area Social Service through a project at Mill Pond Manor senior apartments called, “The Honey Do” list, which is one of several community outreach events that the church leads each year.
Keystone has been involved in the community for many years, however, over the past few years there has been a significant increase in community outreach efforts as the church has adopted a philosophy to “Love Where You Live”.
In 2015, Keystone Church Lead Pastor Ken Gilmore along with the church’s leadership team developed a program in parallel with its other works of good stewardship to connect this last dot in the process. They call it "Love Where You Live”, and the idea was to be intentional about loving your neighbor through active use of your time, treasures, and talent in the community where you live and worship. Keystone believes that God calls “The Church” to be wise stewards of their resources, to glorify God, and to love others. Although many can be generous in their support of discipleship, caring for those in need within their congregation and global missions, God also calls us to love those nearby in our local community.
Approximately three years ago Keystone started with a teaching program of sermons and small group studies about loving your neighbor, and then continued the process by creating and continuing with significant community outreach efforts.
The teaching element culminated with a "Reverse Offering", where the church passed out sealed envelopes to service attenders in denominations of $5, $10, and even a few at $100, and challenged everyone to use the money to serve someone else, to "love where you live."
And oh, how they did!
Some of the stories reported back were as simple as buying a coffee for someone. Other stories were larger in scope -- to a level where small group Bible study participants banded together and purchased a gently used car from Briarwood Ford for a single mom.
The idea (or strategy) behind the "Reverse Offering" was to help people experience the joy of generously caring for others. Members were encouraged to use the reverse offering to purchase, create or design something new specifically for the purpose of giving it away, not for the kudos they might feel or receive for doing something nice, but for the joy of meeting a need in someone else’s life. The goal here, according to Keystone Church Care Director, Dee Dee Rhoades was to “inspire us organize our lives not around what we can acquire; but rather, what we have to lovingly give to God and those around us. God calls us to be like Him by loving others and being generous.”
One of the partners and beneficiaries of the "Love Where You Live" initiative has been Saline Area Social Service.
During its Christmas Eve offering, Keystone designated the entirety of those monetary gifts received to specially selected charities and ministries. In January of 2016, Saline Area Social Service received a portion of that offering (as a one time special gift), the total of which was approximately $20,000! This extremely generous gift helped stabilize finances at one of the most challenging times of the year and ensured that SASS could continue to serve the community.
Keystone has become one of the most supportive churches in the community for SASS by leading two “Honey Do” projects per year, an annual “White Out Drive” to provide paper products and under garments for the children and families of SASS, and leading a major community wide food drive each August that generates thousands of pounds of food.
If you would like more info on how to get involved with Saline Area Social Service visit our website (SalineSocialService.com) or send an email: [email protected]