Across the country at churches, schools and other parts of the community, people responded to one question Saturday, July 13: Why am I here?
Impact Church in the Dr. Phillips area answered a call to action as it took part in Serve Day — an annual, national initiative of service through the Association of Related Churches.
Members of Impact Church and volunteers came together to support Palm Lake Elementary School — where Impact Church holds its services — and by beautifying the campus and lending a helping hand.
Members of the community laid down new mulch around trees and landscaping, pulled weeds at the school’s learning garden, moved furniture to classrooms after a previous painting project and fed the community more than 200 hamburgers and hot dogs.
The annual Serve Day, which takes place on the second Saturday of July, gives tens of thousands of people through ARC churches a chance to love on the community in different ways, said David Blouin, the Impact Church Jacksonville location pastor who now oversees the Orlando location.
“It’s the essence of who we are — of Impact Church,” Blouin said. “(It’s) the heart of our pastor, who is George Davis — he’s the main senior pastor in Jacksonville.
“His heart is people,” he said. “He believes that we grow at the speed of relationship. … He wants people to know the love of Jesus Christ and go out and be a great benefit and make a difference in the community and not expect anything in return — just show people the love of Jesus.”
The Serve Day was a tremendous help to the elementary school in preparation for the new school year, Principal Jim Weis said, adding that there’s a wonderful relationship between Impact Church and Palm Lake Elementary.
“Part of their stewardship is to give back to the community and to the school, and they’ve been very good about that and respectful of the students and the community in wanting to give back,” he said.
Assistant Principal Victoria Tierney noted the work was a major ask for the custodial staff at the school, so the help was greatly appreciated, she said.
“That may seem like a small kindness on their part, (but) it was hugely impactful to the teachers and staff here at the school and then, in turn, our children and families,” Tierney said.
Beyond the annual Serve Day, Impact Church goes into the community every weekend for Serve Saturdays, ministering to people in homeless shelters and offering services in prisons.
It all goes back to answering that initial question, Blouin said.
“We’re people of excellence — we’re not perfect, we just operate and do the best we can with what we have,” Blouin said. “We’re generous, we’re grateful, we’re relevant, and we’re powerful. We believe that’s a life-giving culture that anyone that walks into it can have their life changed and want to help make a difference or help change another life.
“That’s the greatest sense of fulfillment we have as human beings is to be used by God to make an impact in someone else’s life,” he said. “I think every single person on the planet wants to know why they’re here, and ultimately we’re here to make a difference.”