How can a congregation be an active partner in its local community? What should a church's role be in the community in which it is located? If our aim is to witness to the love of Jesus, how can we actively do that in our particular setting?
Shepherd King's name suggests many possibilities. Scripture is full of images that portray shepherds and their role. God is depicted as the Good Shepherd; in contrast other scriptures reprimand shepherds who have neglected or abused their role (see Jeremiah 23:1-6). Psalm 23 shows the good shepherd leading us to green pastures and still waters - nourishing us, giving us refreshment, keeping us safe. In John 21:15-19 the risen Jesus urges Peter to "feed my lambs" and "tend my sheep." Jesus is Lord and King of all, but not like secular kings who often oppress and tryanize their subjects; instead Jesus is a "shepherd" king, one who watches over, provides for, and loves the flock.
Cleary, then, a congregation named "Shepherd King" is called to be involved in its community as a good shepherd who shares the lives and concerns of his neighbors. Finding ways to do this, however, can be challenging. As an expression of our care for the people in our community, our congregation has adopted a local school - Eisenhower Middle School. We call this: "Support Our School" or S.O.S. Our first project has been to gather school supplies for fall that teachers and administrators can have available for students who need them.
We will also be encouraging members to become mentors to students. Once approved for being a mentor, the volunteer will be assigned a student and then will spend time with that student - perhaps by eating lunch with him or her at the school cafeteria during the week. Middle school can be a tough time for a young person, what with study and learning, growing into their bodies and entering puberty, peer pressure and possible worries at home. Having an objective, caring adult spend time with her/him can make a tremendous difference in a student's life.
Shepherd King also plans to support our school by helping with landscaping projects -- tending flowerbeds, weeding, watering - to keep Eisenhower's property attractive and clean. We are hoping that at least 10 people from the congregation, maybe more, will become actively involved in these aspects of S.O.S. After all, this is our neighborhood and these are our children and families we are seeking to nurture and support.
If you want to be involved, call the church office 210-344-5881 and ask what you can do to Support Our School. Together we can be faithful ambassadors of the Good Shepherd, our Lord, Jesus.