Summer OFF Reflections: Christine's Story (1/3)
By Christine H.
Christine is a dear friend of the Philip Center staff and was one of the founding leaders of Summer OFF—the idea was born out of her prayers and conversations with a few other families from Godspeed Church. Over the coming week, Christine will be sharing some reflections on the beginnings of Summer OFF and the role it has played in her own life.
When I reflect on the impact that the ministry called Summer OFF has had on my life, I envision something that looks like lemonade and cookies that God has transformed into a fantastic banquet. The ministry that God has used for His glory to introduce the gospel to children and their families in the parks of Providence, bring the church together through gospel-centered service, and plant a new church in the city, came out of a very small vision.
I have a confession to make. I’m amazed at all He had in mind when we set out to “do something ministry-wise” together as a family in the summer of 2009. I had a somewhat “adorable” idea when I prayed about what God would have for us that summer. Backyard Bible clubs, in which families invited neighboring children to their yards in the summer for mini VBS times where kids could gather for refreshments, games, and stories in order to love their neighbors and share the gospel, were starting to pop up in Christian circles. That sounded like a worthy idea to me. My kids could get outside of themselves and be little missionaries in their own backyard!
I had no idea that God was interested in broadening that “cute” small suburban vision to greater things. He had in mind things like ministry to an urban community in South Providence, building us together as a family, and to teaching us how to come to the table in community as God’s dwelling place.
I love a quote from Paul David Tripp which says, “Community means inclusion. In Christ, we are not only included into God and what He is doing but we become part of the people of God throughout history and in every corner of the world. We are God’s possession. He has included us, who were once separate, strangers to His promises, aliens. By His glory and goodness, we have been brought into His new community of faith. As you grow, you help others grow. As others grow, they help you grow. We grow together.”
As I look back and marvel, I can see that Summer OFF is one of the ways that He taught us how He works in community.
Read Part 2 here.