One of the marks of a vital church is the impact that church makes in the lives of the people around them – both in those that call the church home and those that do not. One of the aspects of this church that I love is the continued work and drive to impact all of those lives.
At the end of 2017, we had an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of the children that live in and near Fruitland Park. Debbie and I were speaking with the Recreation Director for Fruitland Park about the work that she does, and she shared with us that she was searching for people and organizations to sponsor new youth sports leagues. She had an idea to start these leagues and while volunteers were being recruited, finding adequate funding was a problem. We shared this conversation with the leadership of the church and this church saw that problem as an opportunity. And the church responded.
The church gave the city a donation that enabled us to be a sponsor. I personally feel it is important to help create places that give children a safe, positive environment in which they can thrive, both on our campus and in the community. Sports leagues are one of those places. They give children structure, a place to play and be a kid, and a place to practice cooperation and teamwork. The benefits of these leagues in the lives of these families, now and in the future, is vast.
As a way of saying thank you, The Recreation Director gifted the church with the framed picture above. Pictured is every team that played in the City of Fruitland Park Fall Soccer League, and our donation allowed us to sponsor every one of them. Each team had our church name on their jersey and a banner with our church name hung on the fence around the fields. But more than that, this donation allowed these children to experience the joy of playing soccer. And it happened, because of each of you and your support of Community.
I want to thank you for being the kind of church that supports its community. I want to thank you for being the kind of church that sees the importance of investing in the lives of those around us. I want to thank you for being the kind of the church that helps make youth sports leagues possible.
This picture is hung in the hallway of our Education Building as a reminder of the bridges we are trying to build to the city of Fruitland Park. We are more than just a building, we are more than just a steeple, we are a group of people seeking the share the love of Christ with all people, in all places.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us this opportunity and the resources to respond. May your presence be felt in these families that are pictured and may your name be spread throughout the land! Amen.