Lakeview United Methodist Church in Shreveport was recently honored by the Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation for its continued efforts to add value to Shreveport communities and schools.
Over the holidays,the church had gathered Christmas boxes for a local school. It was an effort that had been done in the past, but Pastor Klay Harrison challenged the church to triple their efforts and before he could blink, one Sunday school classes gift of 60 Christmas boxes turned into over 200 for Midway School.
"Seeing people join together to support local kids really encourages me for the future of Lakeview and opportunities to reach out beyond the church walls," Rev. Harrison said. "I am so proud to be part of this community and excited for all that Jesus is doing right here in Shreveport.
This is not the first time Lakeview has reached out to the community as they've been providing weekly meals and free tutoring, but Harrison is the first to admit the ministries felt a bit disconnected.
"So, I reached out to SPAR (Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation) in order to learn about some of their programs just to get a better feel for the community. Come to find out, SPAR was doing absolutely everything in the community that Lakeview was trying to get started," Harrison says. "So I asked if we could partner with them, since they have the funding and need volunteers, and we have volunteers and need the funding. It was providence, because this partnership is just so natural. Everyone is working really well together, and together we really can impact Shreveport communities. Already we are getting our heads together for creative community engagement and even using the Lakeview facility as an overflow for SPAR. I'm excited for the many opportunities ahead."
Jessica Bato is the worship director at Lakeview and says the entire experience has been humbling as it has put her life into perspective. She says adding value to people's life is both humbling and incredibly gratifying at the same time.
"Once someone sees that we are valuing their life, it has a domino effect," Bato says. "It makes people want to be a part of that and want to add value to others."
Rev. Harrison, who is serving in his first year as Lakeview's pastor, is quick to draw upon value as a significant reason for Lakeview's desire to serve.
"At the core of my faith in Jesus is an understanding that all people have intrinsic value. There is a significant piece of every person that is of great value. No matter what that person has done or what has been done to that person, that great value remains," he says. "Every day of my life, I want to love Jesus and love like Jesus by drawing attention to every person's great value. The costly grace of God reveals that value and I am compelled to respond by daily adding value to people. When we add value to others and add value to communities, we become less separated and we begin to live life differently. As a Christian, and a United Methodist, it's my calling to live into community, invite others to love Jesus and love like Jesus, and every day add value to people. It's just who I am; and I want this joy and way of life for everyone. Jesus is that awesome!"
You can follow Lakeview United Methodist Church on its Facebook page or via its web site.