Patrick O’Neal

Minister at the Muscatine Church of Christ (MCOC)

I’m in the middle of a series titled “Being the Village.” It’s a piggyback off the old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” There are many people in the lives of children: parents, teachers, coaches, babysitters, parents’ friends, public safety officials, you, me—the list goes on and on. There is influence from every angle. So what does it take for us to truly be the village that raises up men and women who are positive and productive members of society, who love God and spread joy?

Most recently we talked about “Village Service.” James calls believers to do more than listen (James 1:22), talk (James 2:14), or believe (James 2:18-20). He calls them to put their faith into action. If you’re not a Christian, this doesn’t apply to you; but if you are, James is challenging you to put your money where your mouth is, to walk the walk, and to live out the beliefs inside of you.

The life of the believer is like a Slinky. There’s the starting point of belief and the endpoint of salvation, but in between, we’re spiraling around and around, from faith to action back to faith and back to action. Having faith, even in the smallest amount, causes us to think – and, eventually, act – differently.  When we think and act differently, our faith grows. This growth naturally produces more action, which naturally produces more growth, and on we go, around and around the spiral.

If we want to be the village, we must serve (i.e. put our faith into action), and the MCOC Youth Group is doing just that this summer. We’ve started a program called Make a Difference Monday (#MADM). Every Monday, we help members of the community in whatever way we can. We’ve mowed lawns, cleaned gutters, helped people move, cut up trees, and picked up after the storm. In the future, we will also do things like honor our public service officials, spend time with those in nursing homes, and visit MCSA. If you have any projects we could work on, or if you have a teen who would like to partner with us please let me know, please call (906) 280-3905 or email patoneal85@gmail.com. We’re in this together! Let’s work together to make Muscatine a village where one would want to raise a child.