Last night during Family Night supper, we talked about our recent Spiritual Renewal retreat. Jake asked us, “What did it mean to have a heart drawn on your hand?” Immediately, our bulletin board came to mind, where all generations - from toddlers to senior adults - were pictured holding up their hands. Everyone had a heart to share. We were all marked by love.

Some have said, missions is the heartbeat of the church. We tend to think that makes some sense. In many ways, how a church does missions says something about its vitality. How is the church body moved by Christ’s love towards compassion for others? How does worship move you to serve your neighbors? How does grace make a difference in the way you understand all the people in your community? How much do people in need affect the way a church does church?

The Missions committee is doing a heart check-up. We got started with some plans for 2016 by asking ourselves, what do we mean when we say missions? Certainly, the long answer to that question could fill many books. Our six-word answers came out something like this:

Our obedient response to God’s good news.
Taking Christ’s love to the world
You be Jesus to Others.
Faithful work for God through Church.

If we are checking our missional pulse, those answers are a good place to start. We began to look at how we can help develop missional disciples. We looked at needs in our local context: Macon. We dreamed about ways we can bring the whole congregation together on projects that get our hands, and feet moving and serving our neighbors. We want the heartbeat of missions to move us forward. We are marked by love; may we
be moved by love.

So, we are offering a new opportunity: Hand in Hand Projects. The hope is that the hands of preschoolers, senior adults, youth and all ages will join together for hands-on missions. No matter your age, there is a way you can be a part of missions. The first one is on March 6, after worship. Come and have lunch and a mission project. Together, hand in hand. What will we do?

This month, we will focus on a local need: children in foster care. All month long, we will learn about these children in Bibb County, hear stories, and meet small needs for their care. You’ll see this focus throughout March using #HHBCFostersLove as our hashtag. The needs in the foster care system are great. The first way we will serve our neighbors is to know them. We will provide small things that will make a difference to them as they leave their family and move into a foster family. Developing a working relationship with our local DFCS will also open a relationship between our church's missional heartbeat and the needs of children in our community.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around,” said Leo Buscalgia. Giving children towels and suitcases may seem like small acts of caring but when we do them in the name of Jesus, we are remembering Christ saying “you have done this unto Me.”

In the months to come, we will continue to focus on missions as we help develop missional disciples. Everyone has a heart to share. Come for lunch on Sunday, March 6. Sign up here. Let’s work hand in hand.

Erin Hall and Renee Bennett
Missions Committee Co-Chairs