Excerpts from dialogue between Greg Johnson of the Surge Community Church and Laura Hill of Annandale Bible Church, via Facebook Messenger, May 6, 2020. Links were subsequently added.
Hello. I'm Greg Johnson, a leader with the Surge Community Church that meets—when allowed!—at the State Theater in Falls Church. "E" Eric Reiss directed me here for possibly making contributions to a relief fund organized by Gustavo Pacheco of Annandale Bible Church. I'd like more information on this relief fund, notably how to safely contribute. ...
Praise the Lord, good morning Greg! Yes, Pastor Gustavo set up a Venmo for contributions to our community. If you're in Falls Church, then you are surely aware of some of the needs that our church encounters. But God is faithful!! Look how he directed you, out of the blue, to us! 💞🙏. Would you like me to send you the Venmo QR code? Would you like to connect to Pastor Gustavo? What needs does the Surge have right now?
Please forgive me for caution, but I've not met anyone from ABC--nice handle!--so I've some questions:
1. I think I can use VenMo. But if we want to send an old-fashioned paper check, to whom should it be written (Annandale Bible Church? Iglesia Biblica Annandale? ...) and to what mailing address?
2. How are needy people or providers identified and prioritized? (Galatians 6:10, Matthew 25:35,...)
3. How are needs met? (money gifts, grocery cards, food or other tangible gifts, rents paid to landlords, ...)
We have at least $1200 in an initial gift. We meet in Falls Church and thus want to give to the Falls Church area. But currently our small congregation is mostly from out of town....
I can answer some of your questions. We have a small adult congregation and a relatively large student/children's congregation. Thus far we have given bags of food and necessities, set aside first for our families and the rest distributed via the parking lot at Braddock Elementary and dropped off in the Fairmont Gardens apartments (where most of our kids live). We work closely with the Parent Liaison at Braddock and we also have a close pulse on the students and the Parent Liaison at Woodburn ES. (we were recently were able to purchase a small laptop for a student at Woodburn who missed the school distribution). The parents and families have reached out to us, the children's church teachers, directly to ask for more food and provision. They have only a Safeway within walking distance of the apartments, and I've yet to see any available toilet paper there! So we'll check the church first and if there is no available funding, then we just go shopping ourselves to provide for their needs. God is so very faithful, and He has indeed supplied all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Thanks! That's the kind of info I wanted. "God is good all the time. All the time, God is good." ...
... But if the Lord can use me, He can use anyone. Ps 40:2 "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps."
Imagine what life would be like if we only did what was “required.”
All duty, all the time, without ever reaching for “the extra mile,” never going “above and beyond,” never giving “110%” as it were, always “phoning it in.”
Imagine writing only in cliche’ with never any original thought or communication.
I’m serious. Picture it. Take a moment and imagine that world. Your work, your relationships, your play without innovation, without any striving for more, where we keep our kids alive and our bills paid and sink into an ever increasing landscape of grey and muted tones. It’s a place where the volume always gets turned down. Or worse, when it internalizes. Where we do just enough to not be fired. Or divorced. Putting in just enough effort to not be left completely alone. To give just enough to stop people noticing our lackadaisicality.
What an awful, mud covered, tasteless, lifeless, boring, joyless, foul-smelling reality that one would be.
Generosity isn’t just about money. Though some folks right now could use your help if you’re able - click here for COVID-19 support. It is about time and heart and intention. It is about a life-long stance of giving more than you take and being more than a mouth breathing collection of particles swirling around like a lump. That’s more for me than for you by the way.
Real generosity is an internal position of the soul.
And it’s one that we desperately need to be healthy… and one that we desperately need to find any sustainable sense of righteousness or joy. We need to strive, to lean, to push, to climb, to give, to risk and to get back up after falling down again.
Generosity isn’t just about money. That’s a symptom and an expression, but not the heart or central urge. It’s about giving gifts of time and gifts of attention; gifts of the cherry on top; gifts of the great conversation. Those things cost us something, but the returns are legendary. Think about the landscape of where you are right now. In context, in relationships, in life. And do this for me, would you?
Don’t be afraid. Decide to not be afraid.
No really. Stop being so afraid of that new thing you’re thinking of, and all the trouble it will be and if you fail it won’t be worth it and Netflix is calling you to fix a plate of nachos and check out.
Don’t mishear what I’m saying. A life well spent will frame and rest and will protect margin with both hands. You will find greatness in rhythm and groove. It is also necessary to take a day off and enjoy your vacation.
But don’t forget to say “no” to the cruise control and put the pedal to the floor occasionally. Go for it!
Because Generosity, in our dreaming and execution, in our friendships and love, in our work and play… in our inside and out… is Necessary.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (emphasis mine)
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.