On Tuesday, a man wandered in to the Railway Embankment site as we were painting. His car was being serviced in the garage opposite and he had time to kill, so, seeing the open gates, he decided to explore.

It must have seemed an odd sight to him: five people in various stages of painting a wall. He asked if we were doing community service (meaning a scheme whereby offenders do jobs in the community to atone for their misdemeanours.)

Of course, we were doing community service – just not quite in the way he meant! We were serving our community by giving up our time and talents to paint a mural for our community. Volunteering is very different to being mandated to do good. Here, people were doing good because they love where they live and wanted to enhance the beauty of the place.

Our church’s strapline (a phrase I detest) is ‘with God in the community, with God for the community.’ Our name is Goldthorpe Pentecostal Community Church. This is the reason I have spent so much time at the Railway Embankment this week. It has been a labour of love. I’m no fan of painting. I dislike the mess. I tremble every time I set foot on a stepladder. But I beleive passionately that God wants to do something beautiful in Goldthope and that this art project can be one way of serving Him in the community.

Community service – a way of living out your faith right where you live!