From paying starbucks coffee forward and baking cakes for neighbours, to giving refuge workers gifts and paying a dance teacher double, Central Vineyard have started a Kindness Revolution in Northamptonshire. We chatted to Steve Gee (Senior Pastor) to find out some more!
“Central Vineyard is a multisite church with sites in four Northamptonshire locations, and NN is our postcode area. ‘LoveNN’ started a few years ago as a simple way to mobilise our church to love the people they encounter everyday through simple acts of kindness. A few years ago, Northamptonshire was the first UK council to go bankrupt and so the morale of our community is often seen as low. Our hope is that we can become a scattered army of people who show kindness and begin to see change in our culture at large, through a number of small simple acts of love and kindness.
Our goal is to start a kindness revolution! We invite recipients of any act of kindness to pay it forward, and attempt their own act of kindness too! During lockdown we’ve been using the ‘LoveNN’ banner to celebrate and also continue to encourage our church to love those on their streets and neighbourhoods in practical ways. This time round anyone who registers for LoveNN will receive a free LoveNN sticker pack, that can be used to point those on the receiving end of their kindness to the LoveNN website: https://lovenn.org
We encourage people to practice kindness in different ways – whatever suits their personality! Some people are like Kindness Ninjas – they look for ways to give anonymous gifts or acts of kindness. Others are Kindness Heros – people ready to step in and make a difference when they spot a need. Some people are Kindness Amigos – people who seek to carry out acts of kindness in more relational ways with the people around them. We also have Kindness Bosses – people who either run businesses or are self employed and attempt to show unexpected generosity through the things that they do on a daily basis.
Most of all, LoveNN is a fun way to live out our vision as a church, to join God in the renewal of all things and to see the towns across Northamptonshire brought back to life.
We’ve seen people do all kinds of things – from paying for the coffee of the person behind them in the queue at Starbucks, to leaving gifts out for postmen and refuge workers, to baking cakes for neighbours. One family as they headed in to lockdown recognised there was a level of stability to their income that others didn’t have and so they decided to pay their daughters dance teacher double the amount until dance classes were able to restart! Right now we have no idea of the full impact of the seeds that are being sown, or if we’re anywhere near a revolution taking place! What we do know is that it’s been a joy to see people step out in simple ways and to also see those outside of our church family get involved and pay it forward. So we remain convinced, as Mother Teresa was once credited for saying that ‘small things done with great love, can change the world’!”
Do you have a story about what God is doing where you are? We’d love to hear it! Email us at [email protected]