More than 250 Tauranga teens are swapping the X-box controllers for a spade or pair of gardening gloves today, as they get stuck in and lend a hand with odd jobs throughout the city.
Organised by eight Tauranga churches, the inaugural ‘This is Church’ initiative encourages teenagers to visit separate locations, where they’ll wash windows and cars, clean houses, complete yard work, do odd jobs for schools, accompany senior citizens at retirement villages, and more.
Lifezone Church youth Pastor Scott McCulloch says this is the first event but not the last, as youth pastors have already locked in a date to hold a second event in the first school holidays next year.
“Our youth ministry have done outreach days before but never together with the youth ministries of Tauranga.
“These events are often eye opening and highly impacting for teenagers as they experience the joy in giving and living for others.”
Splitting into teams of about eight, teenagers from each church will lend a hand in their separate community spaces. Odd jobs include water blasting the Merivale Community Centre and yard work at sisters Kristie Purton and Nikki Reynolds-Wilson’s Greerton home.
Kristie, 31, and Nikki, 24, were born with cystic fibrosis – a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine.
They’ve been on a mission to complete 65 random acts of kindness throughout the city, including leaving Lotto tickets in library books and paying for people’s parking. Now, the community is returning the favour.
Scott says the initiative is their way of showing their love for the city.
“God has shown so much love to us and we want to show that to others as well. I think it’s a powerful moment for teenagers to experience the joy in giving.
“It’s impacting for the community because the community get blessed but it’s impacting for the teenagers because they experience the joy in giving.”