When Dan and I first started hiking and snowshoeing together, he talked about how his church loves well—and how much it meant to him when they reached out in love as his wife was dying of cancer. He told stories of how the men wouldn’t let him hibernate after his wife passed. Instead, they said, “Come with us. We’re going to work on a repair project,” or “We’re going to Mexico to deliver books and educational supplies.”
Early on, I somehow knew that if this relationship grew into something beyond a non-dating friendship, I would be changing churches. In time, Dan invited me to attend Foundry Church, and what I mostly remember is how everyone was warm and accepting and seemed pleased for him.
That was my introduction to my new church family.
Taking Care of Its Own
Since those early days, I’ve learned more about this kind, giving, takes-care-of-its-own body of believers. I’ve learned that in addition to a food pantry available for all walk-ins, Foundry maintains a fund specifically for its families, called the No Needy Fund. It assists congregants with unexpected cost-of-living expenses: the single woman, for example, who couldn’t afford to bury her son, and families who needed help with groceries, rent payments, and utility bills during COVID.
I learned about a woman from the Bahamas who is now a member of our congregation. After her husband was murdered, she and five of her six children were brought to America as part of a human trafficking ring. They found themselves locked into a hotel cleaning job that barely paid enough to cover the cost of one room for all six people to live in. They had to rely on their trafficker for everything.
A member of Foundry Church struck up a conversation with the mother in a park one day, inviting her to a service. Foundry stepped up to help this woman find a new job and covered the cost of safe housing for her and her children for a full year, after which she qualified for subsidized housing.
A high percentage of families in our church have fostered and adopted children, including those with special needs. As a result, a support ministry was established for the foster/adopt community in our hometown. I have three grandsons who were adopted from another continent, and I know how much it means to my daughter and her husband to connect with other families who share some of the same early childhood trauma issues.
In a letter to church members in ancient Galatia, the Apostle Paul gave instructions for how the believers should live in community:
“Serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).
There are between 50-60 ‘one another’ phrases in the New Testament that provide instruction for how believers should live within community. And they can all be summed up by love. Love one another. And show your love by your service and kindness.
A few years back, a shower truck was donated to our church. Volunteers managed and maintained the truck and drove it to various locations to provide hot showers for the homeless. In time, a more reliable truck was purchased. My husband Dan helped design and build two rooms of shower stalls—one for men and one for women. Homeless or not, we all know how far a hot shower can go in lifting our spirits.
Foundry also supports a handful of non-profits in our area that reach out to women who find themselves pregnant and needing assistance, to students on our college campus, and to the homeless by way of meals and shelter.
In addition, we have a creative way to invite people into our building, people who wouldn’t otherwise think of stepping inside a church. Our town hosts an Art Walk on the first Friday of every month. Because Foundry is in the downtown area, we jumped into this fun, First Fridays celebration. An art display is set up, cookies and coffee are served, craft projects for children and adults are offered, and tourists and locals stop in.
What if we, the Church, opened our doors and shared the love of Jesus Christ to our hurting, broken, displaced, excluded, hungry, lonely neighbors? What would that look like? It would look beautiful. It would look like the Church demonstrating—and not just talking about—the love of Christ.
The Apostle John wrote a letter to Christians scattered across the Roman empire. In it he said:
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18, NLT).
Love is an action word. And our actions of service and kindness speak volumes to non-believers.
In addition to coming alongside international missionaries, Foundry Church supports a camp in Latvia—called Eagles’ Wings—that offers faith-based camping experiences to children from this former Soviet-bloc country. Not only does our church direct regular financial gifts to the camp, but over the course of several years, Foundry has sent teams to Latvia to help build cabins, enlarge the lodge, and rebuild a barn after it burned to the ground. With recent events that have unfolded in Ukraine, Eagles’ Wings has been blessed with the privilege of hosting refugees passing through.
Our neighbors aren’t just those within our shorelines. Our neighbors are also those across vast oceans who need the love of God shown to them in practical ways that impact their lives for all eternity.
If we, in America, have been graced with a wealth of freedom and affluence—and we have—how joyful to be able to share some of our abundance.
Jesus once said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Love matters. Love shows who we are, and whose we are.
Small Numbers, Big Hearts
Here’s the thing you need to know: The regular attendance of our church is around 170 people (240 pre-COVID). Foundry is not one of those mega-churches where there’s a surplus of funds and volunteers to make all this happen.
As a newcomer, I’m amazed at what this little church does to make a difference in each other’s lives, within our community, and in places around the globe.
Let’s Make Sure Our Church Loves Well—Not Just on Sundays
It’s unfortunate when the Church in general is painted with the same brush strokes as pastors and spiritual leaders who have hit the headlines because of mismanaged funds, mistreatment of people, unfaithfulness to their marriages. These are the stories that make the news.
What doesn’t make the news are the countless churches filled with imperfect but loving people who quietly go about paying attention and meeting needs in hands-on ways.
Because that’s what Christ called His followers to be: an extension of His hands and feet and heart while we occupy this temporary planet.
One of the best ways we can begin to show love to others—especially those who are different than you—is by taking the time to understand who they are and what matters to them: Do Conversations about Race Have to Divide or Can They Unite? with Torrie Sorge – 185