hazardous waste connections

March 9, 2005 | Leave a comment

It’s amazing how stuff can pile up, and moving has made me so aware of that. We stuff things away for later, and never use them. Then they become a hassle when we move because we have to figure out how to dispose of them. Sometimes they aren’t easy to dispose of. That was the case for us. While packing up our house, I had five gallons of paint and some old bad gasoline to dispose of. That’s not the kind of stuff that you can just pour down the drain or dump in the trash.

{Thanks for reading this far…I know sometimes we see longer posts and skip right over them. Keep reading please.}

Thankfully, the city offers a hazardous waste disposal day, and it was this past Saturday. In fact, three cities in the area, with a combined population approaching 750,000 participated in this together. Though the process was smooth, I was surprised at how long it took. There were a lot of cars lined up with a lot of hazardous waste to dispose of. The event lasted six hours, and in the half hour I was there, I would guess that at least 50-70 cars came through the lines. I had no idea that this many people would come to this.

There were a number of volunteers helping out and making this run smoothly. They were checking ID’s to make sure we were residents of the participating cities, guiding us in the proper direction, giving us free info about recycling, taking stuff out of our cars for us, and sorting all the waste into the proper receptacles. I interacted with at least five volunteers while I was in line. With my windows rolled down on this beautiful day, it could have been more.

What a great opportunity this could have been for a community of Jesus followers. Churches like to design outreach events to draw people out of the community and on to their campus. Those have been effective no doubt, but churches need to find ways to connect with people in the community, much moreso than just on their campuses.

What if a church just chose to staff this event every time. (Even better, what if a church had many people staff it alongside people who weren’t from the church?) Some people might go through the line without ever knowing it was a church that staffed it, and that would be okay. But some might ask who they were, and they could simply say: “We are from so-and-so church, and we are just here because we care about the community.”

Imagine the statements that would be made, though they wouldn’t even need to be verbalized:

  • Here we are in the community, and it’s nice to meet you.
  • We are part of this community too, and we care about it as much as you do.
  • We’re not just here to tell you what is wrong with this world. We’re here to help make it better.
  • We have time to give to projects like this, because they matter to us too.

This is just one possibility. What is going on in your community? How can the people who live there know that you are not there just to build a building, but to make the community better for everyone?