Volunteers turned out by the hundreds on a recent weekend in Portland, Ore., to give one of the city's oldest high schools a thorough facelift.
Church members cleaned, painted, weeded and trimmed to give the Roosevelt High School a one-day makeover. Some call it Evangelism 2.0, a new model for sharing the gospel, and it is winning friends in Portland.
The city's openly gay mayor, Sam Adams, is a friend of the movement and regularly meets with conservative pastors and also meets behind the scenes with the son of a prominent evangelist.
"When people see it clean, well painted, you know, really nice building, it makes such a difference to come to work in, and for kids especially," said Devin Baker administrator of the arts school. "For kids to see all these people, they think, wow, education is important to a whole lot of people."
The project known as Season of Service began during a Luis Palau evangelistic festival in Portland last year. According to administrator Kevin Palau, it is designed for the long haul.
"Our goal was that it not be a flash in the pan and simply be a big effort that then died away," he said. "The goal was to see if it really could get legs and become viral and grass roots, and that's exactly what's happening for the second Season of Service."
The practical help delivered through this service project has created strong ties between churches and civic leaders. As the second Season of Service began, Mayor Adams received a check for $100,000 from the Palau Association and local churches for city projects helping the homeless and school dropouts.
The 300 local churches involved in this summer's projects have also benefited as well.
"Another way that the Season of Service has really helped the Body of Christ is to emphasize that evangelism is a way of life," Kevin Palau added. "It is part of our ongoing impact in the community. It's how we live, how we demonstrate the good news as well as how we proclaim it."
And ultimately, it is a demonstration of love.
"All those things, the paint, the landscaping, the special projects, it's a symbol for the fact that somebody cares about this school and about the kids that go here," said Rich Recker, Roosevelt High School development director.
In a community where a number of the kids don't have a strong family support system, knowing that somebody cares about them, and cares about their school, is really a critical thing.
*Originally aired July 24, 2009.