BY JACKIE KWON
The Love Herndon ministry was birthed from a desire for Open Door to become a more visible presence in the area that surrounds us – Herndon. Remember how Jesus told us to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8)? We have expended our efforts into supporting overseas missions as well as partnering with organizations in DC, but we’ve done little to develop relationships with our nearest neighbors. It’s as if we’ve traveled to Judea, Samaria and the farthest parts of the world, but have overlooked our Jerusalem.
For the past few months, a group of us – at first, Suki and Jeanie Chang, Tom and Michelle Lee, Teri Moon, and now an expanded group of committed servants – have been meeting to pray through a vision for how to best impact those nearest to ODPC. We spent time learning about the people of Herndon and were surprised to uncover the fact that 40% of residents have an average income that exceeds $100,000. As a church, we have spent most of our local outreach efforts doing relief work through Manna targeting only those in financial need. We wondered if it was time for us to start rethinking outreach and ask ourselves, “What can we do as a church to build relationships and extend grace to all those nearest to us, not just those in material need?” “How can we more effectively be an open door to a life-changing grace to the people of Herndon?”
We can make a difference in two ways: through loving service and radical hospitality.
Loving service means going out and partnering with strong organizations that already serve the people of Herndon, whether they are helping the poor or the poor in spirit. There are wonderful organizations that are working to meet the needs of Herndon. Why not send our people to those places to provide needed support in Jesus’ name? Imagine a Saturday when you are serving alongside a cross-section of Open Door — some brothers and sisters you may have known from the same small group and some from different stages of life — to bless the people of Herndon with food, drinks, and/or any act of service that could somehow extend the grace of God.
Radical hospitality means putting in extraordinary effort to welcome people into ODPC so that they experience the love of God. Hosting a hypothermia clinic for those in need of shelter during cold winter days, holding a yard sale or a food truck festival for the community, making a first responders breakfast, or sponsoring a soccer tournament on our Astroturf field for our neighbors — these are some ideas that will allow us to at least begin engaging with our community. Why not use our large physical presence to bless those around us?
This is Jesus’ love: that he sacrificially gave his life for us. This love of his both challenges and empowers us to love Herndon sacrificially. And when we so love the people of Herndon through loving service and radical hospitality, not only will we mature into Jesus’ likeness as his disciples but we will open the door of our church to our Herndon neighbors so that they too may have the opportunity to meet and then mature into Jesus’ likeness as his disciples.
We are sent to make disciples of all nations, starting with our Jerusalem, Herndon.
We invite you to join us in loving Herndon. Pray together as a small group at each meeting, think through and discuss this initiative, and share your thoughts with us on this Love Herndon google form. Spend this month praying together as a small group at each meeting. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join this ministry. We are excited to see what God has in store for us and we hope you’ll be a part of it!
Jackie Kwon is a deacon of the Love Herndon ministry at ODPC.