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Posts Tagged "Serve"

Beautiful Day is Coming to SJCS

October 03, 2023
By Rae Sterk | Director of Community Development

This blog is part of a series for 2023-24 to share our GRATITUDE for the people and places where we see God's goodness in our community. This post gives thanks for Beautiful Day, a local nonprofit that started out of WestGate Church. It features interviews from three of the many individuals who made the projects at SJCS possible including: Finny Abraham (Local Compassion Pastor at WestGate), Ronnie Lynds (Project Director at Beautiful Day), and Andy Hood (Project Lead at Beautiful Day). 

In 2004 a former lead pastor at WestGate Church asked the congregation, “If our church burned down today, would the community care?” At the time, the answer was a definitive “no,” according to their website. Nearly two decades, 85,000 volunteer hours, and over $1 million later, WestGate’s Local Compassion Pastor, Finny Abraham, says the answer has changed.

“There would be schools, organizations, and government leaders now that would be concerned,” Finny affirmed. By making Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor” tangible, Beautiful Day has caught the attention of local government and secular and Christian non-profits alike. Not only would these individuals and organizations notice if the church were no longer there, they have also come alongside Beautiful Day to partner with the organization.

Finny emphasized that compassion means to “suffer with,” so in acts of love and service, he says, we get closer to a problem and empathize with our neighbors. “Jesus came to us,” he explained, and through service Christians get close to the problem and have the opportunity to, “close the gap between the need and the people who can provide for the need.” In service, we are not only aware of a problem or the suffering of others but we are actively working to restore it.

This year Beautiful Day chose San Jose Christian School as a site for their weekend of service projects around Santa Clara County. The project will have the second-largest budget for a Beautiful Day project in the organization's history. More than 120 volunteers will be coming to SJCS this weekend, October 7 and 8, to meet needs on our campus.

Project Director Ronnie Lynds and Project Lead Andy Hood on campus last month preparing for Beautiful Day.

Of the 100% volunteer-run organization, more than 95 people have stepped up as project directors, project leads, or sub-leads. These individuals generously give countless hours of their time each year obtaining materials, organizing volunteers, and planning for Beautiful Day projects. Andy Hood and Ronnie Lynds are two of these lead volunteers, and they are leads for the upcoming projects at San Jose Christian School.

“I do this work and I do it all the time, year-round, every weekend, because God has given me skills and I want to use them for His glory,” Andy said. As a project lead, he enjoys seeing people gain new skills during the weekend and then continue and step up to help on future projects as volunteers or new sub-leads. He has also witnessed the long-term impact of these projects when they relieve the burdens placed on maintenance workers.

“I do this work and I do it all the time, year-round, every weekend, because God has given me skills and I want to use them for His glory."

“We’ve seen maintenance technicians and groundskeepers get really excited and join us and take on other parts of the project after we leave, because they’ve been so motivated and moved away from the heavy burden of not getting things done to then be freed up to do things they’ve wanted to do all along.”

At San Jose Christian School these projects will not only free up our Facilities Manager but also our budget and our future plans for campus improvements. Beautiful Day is relieving a burden from our teachers and our school to take care of projects that we would not have the time or resources to complete without their generosity.

During Beautiful Day prep weekend, volunteers installed a new display case, tore out carpet in Rooms 20 and 21, and started installing new light fixtures in the hallways.

Beautiful Day recognized that while non-Christian organizations may receive funding or support from Christian and non-Christian sources, Christian ministries often do not get the support non-Christian organizations or government entities offer. After noticing the need within Christian communities, Finny explained that the motivation was: “If we don’t step up, who will?”

“We love teachers and we want to improve their working conditions in any way we can,” Ronnie Lynds acknowledged. After noting how funding has gone down for schools and nonprofits, he continued, “we bring a lot of hands and a lot of energy that they wouldn’t have normally had… and we knock out some huge projects.”

“If we don’t step up, who will?”

At San Jose Christian School, we are excited for the impact of the planned Beautiful Day projects. Teams will be working in the front of the school, in walkways, and in classrooms. They will be replacing tanbark, painting building exteriors, renovating middle school classrooms, changing out hallway light fixtures, and renovating the preschool bathroom.

“It’s going to help, it’s going to have an impact when people walk into school and get a good feeling for the school. It’s going to help kids, pre-K kids… and it’s going to make things safer out there,” Ronnie noted, describing the improvements that will be made to parking lot lighting, middle school benches, and the preschool bathrooms.

Work started last weekend to rebuild this wooden structure near the school entrance.

“We’ve been extremely excited to see what God’s going to do,” Andy said. He described how much he enjoys seeing people and families come together for these projects. Rather than put an age limit on his projects, he said he likes to involve children in the projects to give them the opportunity to serve alongside their parents.

But it’s not just kids learning new skills. Describing his experience with prior projects, Ronnie said adult volunteers learn how to patch sheetrock, get up on ladders, do electrical work, and sometimes how to drive scissor lifts. This gives their volunteers new confidence. “They tell us, you know, since I did this at Beautiful Day, I went and did it and my friends ask me: ‘Where did you learn to do that?’”

These life skills that volunteers pick up from Beautiful Day become new ways to live out their faith. Finny Abraham explained that after an experience with Beautiful Day, people know who to go to when they see a need in their community. As people of faith, we can go beyond identifying a need and be able to say, “I can do something about it.”

“We’ve been extremely excited to see what God’s going to do.”

Living out our faith can look like driving a forklift with mulch or installing new light fixtures. It can look like delivering water or tearing out carpet. It can look like giving up a weekend to love our neighbor. This is part of our mission at San Jose Christian School. When we come together as a body of believers to serve, we are living out our commitment to serve for our students.

Of volunteering with Beautiful Day, Ronnie concluded, “It’s a good chance to learn new skills, meet new people, and afterwards you can stand back and see what your own hands did and what you were a part of.”

Beautiful Day will be at SJCS on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8 from 8:00am-5:00pm. Volunteer signups can be found here. You can learn more about Beautiful Day on their website.

Feeling inspired by this post? Use your gifts and volunteer at SJCS.

Spotlight on Service

December 12, 2016
By David Intlekofer

A Love for God. A Desire to Learn. A Commitment to Serve—Our tagline gives a good summary of why SJCS exists. This week, I’d like to focus on service.

Each year, we participate as a school in many service projects. Our whole-school project in November supporting City Team was a huge success! We were once again the largest single contributor to City Team, and we received a plaque thanking us for our years of contributions.

We have now entered the season of class-level service. Each winter, every class participates in a service project, usually around Christmas. Here are just a few of the many ways our students have been living out our mission and serving Christ and their neighbors this month:

 • 5th-8th graders participated in Operation Christmas Child, packing over 70 boxes of toys and gifts for children around the world.

 • Kindergarteners have been supporting a child through Compassion International. Be sure to ask them about their friend Victor from Uganda!

 • 3rd and 8th graders used their buddies time to write notes of encouragement to shut-ins and those in need of Christmas cheer.

 • 5th grade will be distributing gift baskets to bless our campus neighbors.

 • Library and the book fair raised donations to benefit the San Jose Family Shelter.

 • and much more…

Service projects will continue in January and February, and we will again be raising funds as a school for Feed My Starving Children (collecting quarters in March/April). What a blessing it is to serve together!

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