Tidy Towns

My wife and I recently returned from a LTI/Gordon-Conwell Seminary-led Celtic Pilgrimage which included time in England and Scotland, followed by some vacation in Ireland. It was a spiritually rich, intellectually informative, and relationally vibrant experience. We are strong proponents of spiritually refreshing travel, especially to places that will deepen our walks with God, including Christian pilgrimages, a topic I will write more about in the future.
One interesting thing we noticed along the way: in this part of the world there is very little trash along the roads and sidewalks. Unlike in the US, where litter is much more abundant (and an irritant to yours truly!).
When we were in Ireland we discovered that they have a national competitive program called “Tidy Towns” – an annual time to honor the tidiest and most attractive cities, towns and villages in the Republic of Ireland. Those municipalities who participate must attend to community development efforts such as having an overall tidiness development approach, including manicured landscaping, care for wildlife and nature, litter control, overall tidiness, waste minimization, well cared for residential areas, as well as quality roads, streets and public spaces. All for the sake of the well-being of both residents and visitors. 
During our trip we noticed one community with resourced and activated workers scattered around the downtown painting trash bins and traffic lights, planting flowers, sweeping streets, etc. It had a feel of community pride and shared responsibility, unlike anything we’ve seen in our country.
None of this happens without competent leadership and cooperative community, both of which are seriously lacking in many our cities and towns, and even in our churches. “Tidy Towns” is one such manifestation of honored leadership and collective community, which leads to a deeper sense of pride and joy among the people. Imagine what it would be like if we transferred such a community-enriching metaphor into church life and ministry.
What can you offer today as a leader and as a servant that will contribute to the overall good of your community? Perhaps the “Tidy Towns” concept will inspire something creative for you to pursue!

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