The grass is turning green, blossoms are sprouting, and leaves on the trees are pushing through the bare twigs we’ve been looking at since the leaves fell to the ground. I love springtime for all it brings: renewed life and beauty as I look into the distance and see the forest coming alive again! It brings smiles to faces and thoughts of summer vacations from school or work! My guess is most of us really like this season except for the allergy sufferers who have legitimate issues with the pollen blowing through the windy days.
Spring isn’t all about the environment, though. At Chase Oaks Church, spring brings another positive outlook and action as we look outside ourselves and our own environments to peer into our communities looking for opportunities to Make a Difference 2gether.
How It All Began
Chase Oaks has had a tradition of serving our communities since 2006 when we first reached out with Love Collin County. We organized some service and work projects and served some of the needs we could identify at that time. Then, in 2008, we brought our first annual ShareFest Day to Chase Oaks and sought again to help with any needs that were known in each of our cities in the county. There were about 50 projects going on that day in 2008.
For the next eight years (2008-2015), ShareFest was always a Saturday in April we set aside to ask everyone at Chase Oaks to join us for a project that would help to meet the needs partners and people identified. The most common way of doing this was through LifeGroups as each one was charged with serving together that day.
We saw beautification projects and carnivals operated at public schools, non-profits’ buildings deep cleaned, fences of homeowners rebuilt, community gardens established, abandoned cemeteries cleaned and restored to the way they once looked, and really just about any other type of service project any of us could imagine. We reroofed a church in our community, completely remodeled a home for a couple with health issues, and even built a new home with partners for the family of a child dealing with cancer. The types of projects from just one of those Saturdays would be too much to list here, but it was all good!
How to Impact Our Community 2gether
Two years ago, we felt the need to refresh our springtime day and expand it to a month-long service opportunity! We had always served in LifeGroups together with our community partners but felt like there was something more we could do. We knew that together we could accomplish some things that we couldn’t accomplish as LifeGroups, families, or individuals. There were some bigger needs in our community that we needed to work with all Chase Oakers together to accomplish. So, we moved from ShareFest Day to Make a Difference 2gether, which will be happening again this April at all Chase Oaks campuses.
If you are new to Chase Oaks, you may be wondering why we changed the word “together” to “2gether.” This came about because we we wanted to add a couple of giving elements beyond physically serving our community and to be easy for us to remember the different ways in which we could serve. To make that happen, we came up with 2-2-22 as the ways we could all join 2gether and make a difference in April. We wanted to provide opportunities for all Chase Oakers to make a difference. So, we devised a plan we felt like would make room for all Chase Oakers to participate.
We believed together we could make a big difference, so we asked everyone to:
- Give 2 hours of service in the community in a way of your choice
- Give the equivalent of 2 bags of groceries for our local food pantries
- Give $22 that would be distributed equally to several partners that had identified some big needs that could only be met if all of us give
That first year, we had people spread out all over our county, serving the needs of others. We filled local pantries with enough food to feed 10,000 people for a week. And we gave almost $38,000 to each of our five partners to fulfill a need they had for the coming year. We couldn’t believe the difference we could make together! Way more than what we could do alone! Hence, it was the beginning of a new era at Chase Oaks of tackling big needs as one body.
Most of us have heard about one of our Chase Oaks DNA statements: “We Don’t Go It Alone.” In the outreach context, we know that serving together as Chase Oakers with our partners brings results that cannot be matched by serving separately. And, in 2017, we saw great results again in these areas! So much that we want to continue this trend of working together to make a difference in our communities!
How to Make a Difference 2gether
Beginning in April, the weekend right after our celebration of Easter, we’ll be in full swing coming 2gether to make a difference in our communities! For the first two weekends at our services, everyone will have the opportunity to give $22 per person that will go toward a few partners’ big needs. The third full weekend, we’ll all bring 2 bags of groceries from a shopping list that will fill up our local food pantries. Then the last weekend, we’ll celebrate as we see the results of our partner financial donations via video! It will be very inspiring!
If we all engage in every aspect of the month, serving, grocery shopping, and giving financially together, we will all reap the benefits of a cheerful giver: satisfaction in doing as God has commanded us and seeing the impact we can have when we collectively join together with a focus on our community, not ourselves! It will be a great month for Chase Oaks and our neighbors! Let’s do this!!!
For more information on how to engage, please check out Make a Difference 2gether for your campus at Chase Oaks Featured Events. You will find great opportunities for you, your family, or LifeGroup to serve close to home.