Q & A with LaVeta Jones of BRN and New Life PSU Associate Campus Minister Autumn Miller along with Director Eric Reiber discussing Do Good Fridays.
How did this idea come about?
Autumn Miller: I was reading a book about discipleship when I came across a story the author shared about how a man started a group revolving around one simple requirement: the members had to do a random act of kindness on a certain day of the week. The sense of community surrounding this shared desire that humans have to bring good into the world made this group quickly grow into a worldwide movement. Since New Life had been serving Penn State’s campus on Fridays for the last 14 years, I thought the idea of “Do Good Fridays” would be a seamless way to help even more people get involved, so that if they can’t come to our service event, they can “do good” wherever they are- even involving our alumni, friends, and families in other states!
How many students actively participated?
Eric Reiber: Fifteen to twenty students at first, then we also got reports of alumni and supporters of our ministry joining in as well.
Please share some of the good deeds performed.
Eric Reiber: Many of the ideas stemmed off of a calendar we made around Christmas called the “25 Days of Blessing,” in which students brainstormed ideas on how to serve their neighbors during Christmas. The ideas included:
-over the top restaurant tips
-encouraging post-it notes on cars in a parking lot
-calling an old friend
-giving away a candy bar
-buying food for someone at a store
-donating to charity
-sitting with a homeless man and hearing his story then giving a gift card to a restaurant
How were the good deeds received by the recipients?
Eric Reiber: Always positive, with many recipients deciding to join in as well. It creates good conversations as well.
What did the participants learn about good deeds?
Autumn Miller: I think that as our students and I reach out to intentionally serve people on Fridays, we have been immensely encouraged by the positive reactions we’ve encountered. We are getting to see first-hand how God desires to bless us and others through our call to be a blessing to the world around us.
Eric Reiber: We laid out a biblical foundation for the group as a call in discipleship is to do good. It is not how we are saved, but part of following Jesus. We focused a lot last year on the concept that you are blessed to be a blessing.
Please share a personal experience of one of the students and their recipient(s).
Eric Reiber: One of our juniors got her roommate her exact Chipotle order one Friday. Her roommate asked, “Why are you doing this?” Unbeknownst to Corrie, her roommate was having a rough day. As Dani explained the concept of “Do Good Friday,” to share Christ’s love as well as to let people know that God sees them, her roommate loved the idea. So Corrie, and her non-Christian roommate, made encouraging cards for people in their apartment complex and put them out on the cars the next Friday.
Will Good Deeds be instituted again next semester?
Eric Reiber: This is something that will continue as it is not an event, but a call to serve. Our ministry, prior to COVID-19, would hand out hot chocolate on Fridays on campus, and this initiative coincides perfectly with our focus on discipleship and walking by the Spirit daily.
Galatians 6:10 (NIV) exhorts believers to, “…do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” There are 14 million people in PA/SJ who do not know Christ personally. What good deeds are you doing to show the love of Christ? #LovePASJ