Finding Purpose Through Koinonia Service Day

Dear Concordia Family,

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does the attached chart say about Concordia’s annual Service Day on Friday, September 29?

Before going any further, allow me to provide some background information.  All Concordia students meet weekly in a Koinonia* group.  Each of these 51 groups consists of approximately three students from each grade level (12 total), along with an adult mentor.  Throughout the First Quarter of the school year every group plans the details of their own group’s Service Day experience: choosing where they work, what they do for lunch, how they spend the remaining time to grow closer together.  Our goals for this service learning experience are to 1) serve others in love, 2) deepen relationships with each member of the group, and 3) be ready to share the faith.

*Koinonia, the Greek word for fellowship, is our school’s student-led small group ministry.  

With this in mind, let’s revisit the chart.  For Goal #1, we knocked it out of the park: 45 of 46 Koinonia groups that responded agreed: “We served others in love.”  Goal #2 is not far behind: 44 out of 46 Koinonia groups agreed that their group “worked well with each other” AND “grew closer as a result of this experience”.  Amazing!

The last two bar graphs above include some red/blue responses of “disagree”.  This is understandable based on these two factors:

  1. A few last-minute issues resulted in major changes for several groups.
  2. It is not uncommon for a work site to underestimate what 12 high school students can accomplish in our goal of three hours of service.

As the coordinator for Service Day, I am proud of each group that faced major changes to their schedule.  What is notable is that the students of these groups wanted to serve their planned work sites; it was the circumstances that dictated a change.  Still, much was accomplished at/near Concordia by these hard-working students.

In closing, allow me one anecdote from Service Day 2023: 
A group’s plans changed when their planned work site had to cancel due to a water leak.  A student in the group was able to arrange for some yard work and possibly painting/moving furniture at a residence near her church as part of their outreach.  When the group arrived, the task seemed insurmountable.  They definitely had enough work to do for the day, and when it was time to leave there was still so much more that remained unfinished. The next week the group learned that the family they served was deeply impacted by the effort given.  Here’s what the church contact shared:

"From 9 to noon these kids dug out trees, plants, helped remove carpet tack strips and scrubbed the floors.  They moved boxes and blessed us so much.  They worked so hard. We are overwhelmed with the massive amount of work they accomplished. As they left some of us were wiping our eyes because it was just beautiful. [We are] moved by seeing these strangers show up and serve our family.”  She declared, "It's a sign that we need to go back to church."

She wanted to know where [the student who arranged this goes] to church because those are the types of people she wants to get to know.

We all said, she goes to our church.

Then she said, "then WHY AREN'T WE GOING? So, I think we are going back to church."

Praise God for working through this school for His glory.

In His service,
Mark Dolde
Koinonia Coordinator