One of the joys of being a pastor is celebrating when others celebrate. After I began a college/career aged ministry as a spin-off of the youth group in Milwaukee (because these teens that grew up did not want to leave youth group to go to Wednesday night bible study....can't blame them.) I noticed a lot of these people were starting to get their first rental to live at. This is a big time in a person's life. I thought what a great thing to celebrate! On any given Tuesday at youth group we would have a pile of goodies waiting for the person that got their first rental.
Fast forward a few years now that I am a lead pastor and still enjoy doing these things. At Radiant Fellowship we believe in celebrating milestones. We have had a few people in the church buy their first home which we celebrated as a church. We have also had many people that have had their first baby which we celebrate as well. The lingering question is how do we celebrate such a thing? As soon as I find out someone bought their first home or is having their first baby, I send out a mass email to everyone at our church. I request that we all pitch in and bring items for the family celebrating. That Sunday when the family comes to church they may or may not suspect what is going on but they do see a PILE of new things to take home with them. I remember one person had to make a couple trips with their car to get home all of the new gifts for their first home. They got everything from tons of toilet paper to Mountain Dew, to cleaning supplies. This is a fun thing for a church to do.
One of the questions I get asked when we do something like that is "Well, you can do that because you are a small church." I would say yes and no to that. Even in a church of hundreds you can do this kind of thing, you just send the person home with more goodies. These are the fun things churches can do to tighten up the bond of friendship in a community. I know for Radiant Fellowship it is something we do. If someone asks us, "hey I have a friend.....can you? " I will honestly answer no. Many people want the perks of this little fellowship but don't want to attend for one reason or another. We are a family and if someone wants to come and be a part of it...we will celebrate with them. Some things have to be reserved for just community.