Greg Olson, manager of the Lincoln ReStore, and Michele Williamson, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity (Lancaster), have a passion for supporting those in need by repurposing items. Wednesday evening, 10 Lincoln Lutheran students, parents and staff shared that same passion. The cross-generational volunteer group organized and cataloged 700+ books to be displayed on shelves, swept the entire store floor, dusted shelves and for sale items at the newly-opened home store.
On one hand, the event was just another example of God’s people working out their vocation in the surrounding community. On the other hand, this event was the first of its kind; it was LL’s first Community Outreach Team (COT) event. Open now for about a month, the ReStore is one of many across the country that make a significant impact on communities.
According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the newly opened ReStore is,
“a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.” (http://www.lincolnhabitat.org/restore.html)
Organized and led by LL students, events like these are planned for every month of the year. The goal is simple: empower students to organize events that serve our neighbors while bringing the gospel message into focus. Once a month, the COT team (made up of different students, parents and staff each month) will serve community agencies who demonstrate God’s love for others. Besides providing physical service, some of the other aspects of the COT events include:
- Praying for the Community Agency in that month
- Sharing a short written testimonial (speaking to the love Christ first showed us)
- Making a small donation to the Community Agency thanks to money raised from the Men of Faith basketball tournament
- Beginning each service with a devotional time and prayer
“It was enjoyable to work alongside some of our Lincoln Lutheran students cleaning and organizing donations. The ReStore is an ideal way for the community find a new home for items they might be done utilizing. It was great to hear about their vision to make a greater impact on the community by generating more opportunities to build homes for those in need,” said Scott Ernstmeyer, Executive Director of Lincoln Lutheran.
Three adults and seven students joined together in a way that is unique from the classroom. When we have parents, teachers, staff and students work together, it tends to re-purpose the usual social relationships, making each member of the group equally significant.
Our structure at a school requires that kids sit and listen while teachers teach. Similarly at home, parents need to instruct and kids need to listen. To be sure, that is a good thing on many occasions. But, our youth are very capable and respond impressively when given a chance to lead. And, that can go a long way in reminding each of us of our purpose in Christ. Senior Emily Kunze opened the time with a devotion that struck to the heart of that sentiment it was based off of 1 Corinthians 2. As God’s children, we are called by the Spirit to serve others with the mind of Christ.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Senior Derek Baden. “It really can be fun to know you’re helping people who need it. And, it’s fun to do it with people at your school.”
Taking things that the world would label as “insignificant” and repurposing them does have certain biblical ring to it, does it not? Displayed in the Love of Christ, God has reached down and claimed each one of us by His grace. We are redefined by God because he calls us His. We are repurposed to love and serve one another because that is what Christ did for us.
Check out the Flickr link at the Lincoln Lutheran Lutheran main page. If you have questions concerning how to help serve as a student, parent or staff member of the Lincoln Lutheran Community Outreach Team, please contact Mr. Stoltenow at email@example.com.