|By Angie Fenton email@example.com The Courier-Journal
Love Louisville Day is “about seeing a need and meeting it. It’s sharing a hurt and healing it,” said Robert Pittman, who helped start the event five years ago. Before that he admittedly had become more focused on growing his own church than reaching out to the community.
What would happen if people all over the community combined their resources to commit acts of kindness with no strings attached? There’d be a potentially “colossal, gargantuan effect,” said Mark Taylor, one of the organizers of Love Louisville Day, a one-day event in which churches across the city will unite on Saturday to share God’s love — gratis — with area residents.
Last year’s “kindness explosion” connected 50 churches and their members who held free carwashes, garbage pick-ups, grocery drop-offs and neighborhood block parties. They washed windshields at gas stations and handed out $2 bills to patrons to help pay bills. They passed out food and water at stoplights and helped seniors and single-parent families with yardwork and household chores.
This year’s goal is to unify 100 churches and their members, along with anyone who has a heart for giving, on what Mayor Jerry Abramson has officially declared Love Louisville Day.
“We’re out to try to show people that God is love,” said Elmer Ross, pastor of Fresh Anointing World Christian Center. “Love must be embraced.” Churches have a responsibility to “go and show” God’s love, rather than focusing solely on getting newcomers to “come and see” what the church has to offer, said Taylor, a member of Ninth and O Baptist Church.
Taking acts of service to the streets “brings unity among the churches and helps change a mindset of competitiveness,” Taylor said.
Dave Kimura, who created LoveLouisville.org, said, “Words fall short of explaining the feeling, the reward” he gets from participating in the endeavor. “It’s a huge boost to self-worth,” he said. “We’re showing love to people in the way that God loves us: unconditionally.”
“The world is not in our church services,” said Pittman, head pastor of Highland Vineyard Church. “It’s really very simple: The Bible talks about how it’s in the small things that have the greatest impact.”
Over the years, performing acts of kindness has transformed Pittman emotionally and spiritually. “I was going to be the ‘come-and-see church.’ I wasn’t going to be the go-out-and-show (God’s love) church,” he said. Pittman began performing kind acts for others on his own and, eventually, began organizing groups from his congregation and coordinating with other churches to do kindness projects.
“It taught me to quit worrying about how you look. It’s about what type of heart you’re presenting,” Pittman said. The lesson has paid off. “You know what I’ve got now? It’s the kind of church anyone can go to. Come as you are and join us as we go ‘n’ show,” Pittman said. “My hope is that Love Louisville Day helps plant a seed of what it means to follow Jesus,” he said. “I know it did in me.”
Reporter Angie Fenton can be reached at (502) 582-7143. LOVE LOUISVILLE
What: A one-day event where community members commit simple acts of kindness all over the city to show God’s love with no strings attached.
When: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 6. There will be a post-event celebration at 1 p.m. at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater at Waterfront Park.
Who’s invited? Anyone can participate.
Take the neighbors’ trash to the curb for them.
Hand out bottles of water to people walking in the park.
Do yardwork for senior adults or families.
Hold a free block party.
Give away potted plants.
Go door-to-door and give away light bulbs, toilet paper or batteries for smoke detectors.
Give away groceries.
Give away clothing and shoes.
Hold a free yard sale.
Approach a small business and offer to clean the bathroom.
Give someone $5 toward his or her gas purchase.
Offer to wash windshields for free at a gas station.
Give bags of goodies to employees at a local business.