Kerry Shook, senior pastor at Woodlands Church in Houston, Texas, is challenging hundreds of houses of worship to join him for a one-day effort to go out and make a positive impact in their communities.
Shook, author of the new book "Be the Message," is urging preachers and congregations across the nation to live out their sermons by exiting the pews November 16 and heading out to collectively join in on the "National Be the Message Sunday" challenge.
[sharequote align="center"]"Faith should be active, not just words."[/sharequote]
"Woodlands Church, along with churches all over the nation will be cutting our worship services in half on Sunday, November 16 so we can go out into the community and live a sermon," Shook recently told TheBlaze. "At Woodlands Church we will cut the service in half so our congregation can pack 100,000 meals to go to people we minister to in Haiti."
The preacher said that he has regularly challenged his church to live out the gospel, encouraging members to remember that "faith should be active, not just words," but this new-found effort takes his message far beyond the confines of his Woodlands Church community.
"We simply want to be the message of hope and good news that there is a God who loves them and cares," Shook said. "With no strings attached, being the message has a powerful impact!"
[sharequote align="center"]"We want to be the message of hope and good news that there is a God who loves them and cares."[/sharequote]
He has already encouraged more than 500 churches around the United States to join the Woodlands congregation for the "National Be the Message Sunday" initiative — an effort that he believes holds monumental potential to benefit communities and individuals, alike.
"We’ve seen how it builds community and activates genuine faith. There is a Holy Spirit momentum that builds as Christ followers serve together united for a common purpose," Shook told TheBlaze. "It generates deeper connections among the people and deepens their sense of mission where they live."
Though it's a simple act, he said cutting a sermon short and actually applying Jesus' message to the real world will also help Christians realize that they, too, are a part of that message — and that their involvement in assisting communities will speak volumes.
[sharequote align="center"]"The world is as sick of sermons as many church members and pastors are."[/sharequote]
The importance of living out the message is paramount, Shook said.
"It seems so obvious, yet it’s so easy to take for granted and reduce faith to mere words," he said. "The world is as sick of sermons as many church members and pastors are. They would rather see a sermon than hear one. The 'Be the Message' church-wide challenge will provide you with that opportunity."
Shook noted that churches looking to get involved can visit the "National Be the Message" website and sign up to get information about how to "move beyond the walls of your church and into your community."