Multiply Justice

Archive for the category “Love your neighbor”

LoveLoud … the neglected

sing oldhamRoger S. Oldham writes at about LoveLoud Sunday, July 21:

Every community has needs. The sheer number of people in the inner cities amplifies the brokenness of our sin-infected and impoverished world. If we are to reclaim our nation with the Gospel, there is a tremendous need for healthy churches to reach out to these teeming masses.

NAMB‘s LoveLoud emphasis has a threefold strategy: mobilize your church to love neglected neighbors, to love neglected communities and to love neglected children.

Overlooked and often neglected neighbors include those struggling with substance abuse, homelessness, hunger, incarceration and/or physical or emotional disabilities. Other neglected neighbors include victims of human trafficking, people from other nations who have moved to the neighborhood and widows.

Neglected sectors of the community can be served through innovative ministries such as literacy missions, medical and dental clinics, sports outreach ministries, adopt-a-school initiatives, and community transformation through economic and community development.

Neglected children can be served through such ministries as pregnancy care, foster care, adoption and mentoring programs.

NAMB recommends three learning steps for churches willing to embark on the LoveLoud journey.

Community Prayerwalk — seeing people and communities “through the eyes of Jesus.” Prayerwalking among the people and visiting the places where they live, work and shop will allow God to speak to you about His love for them and their great need for Him.

Community Exploration Experience (CEE) — a CEE is a natural next step following a community prayerwalk. This is an opportunity for personal interactions and an intentional focus on gathering information.

Community Strengths and Needs Survey — this step moves a church deeper in the learning process and requires developing relationships with community leaders. It is very important to show respect and appreciation for these community leaders. Remember, you are entering their community as learners and as servants. …

Communities that have a healthy church in their midst (what Donald McGavran called a “true church”) are communities that experience a “lift” that accompanies redemption. Fellowship buoys the members. Concerned friends gather at bedsides to pray during sickness. Reading and hearing the Bible reminds the church family that God is for them and is available to them. Realizing they are sons and daughters of the King, members of the church act as such and begin living for others. In short, he wrote, a community “in which many others have accepted Christ, becomes a better and better place to live.”

In preparation for LoveLoud Sunday, set for July 21 on the SBC calendar, ask the Lord to let you see the community where you live with the eyes of Jesus. Then ask Him to lift your eyes to the wider fields of harvest. While all effective ministry begins in our own Jerusalem, it must not stop there. Where in your Judea and your Samaria do you need to establish new pockets of ministry? What part of the “uttermost” is the Lord leading your church to engage with the Gospel?

Read more about LoveLoud by clicking here.

The essence of inhumanity

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity.  — Geo. Bernard Shaw

As gov’t fiscal crisis deepens, churches can step into the void

A new survey in England shows churches are playing a crucial role in helping people in need as that country’s fiscal crisis grows. Those congregations are setting an example for churches in America and elsewhere that when government spending outstrips its income, suffering increases — and churches must step into the void to minister God’s love. Congregations have a strategic opportunity to bring new life — and direction — to their society by simply obeying Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

food basketsChristian Concern reports:

To a significant extent, Britain is reliant on churches to reach out to communities and address the social needs of people amidst the financial crisis, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by the Church Urban Fund, shows that 6,500 Church of England parishes offer special services to help schoolchildren, parents, new immigrants and the elderly.

A total of eight out of 10 said parishioners use their spare time to informally help those struggling with issues such as isolation, family breakdown, drug abuse, domestic violence or debt.

Overall, 54 per cent organize at least one activity to meet a need particularly relevant to their community, whether it be poor parenting or low self-esteem, homelessness or mental health problems.

These include specialist debt or stress counseling, community cafés and food, clothes and furniture banks. More than one in 10 said they ran street patrols to offer blankets and food to the homeless or to help drunk people get home.

Paul Hackwood, chair of trustees, said: “All over the country, churches are working to transform their communities, providing food banks, drop-in centers and youth projects.

“The recession has led to unemployment and benefit cuts, which are having a really negative effect on people’s lives.

“It is often left to communities themselves to come together and fill the gap”.

It comes after Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, urged the Church to help in ways that the State had “run out of the capacity to do” as a result of its economic struggles.

He said that this could be the “greatest moment of opportunity since the Second World War” for the Church to fill the void by providing services to communities.

The annual “Church and Community Involvement” survey shows that donations given by churchgoers to social action projects have increased by 19 per cent to £342 million in just two years and churchgoers spend 98 million hours volunteering each year.

“It’s important to recognize that Christianity is for the public good. There are concerted attempts to try and airbrush Christianity out of Britain’s public life,” said Andrea Williams of Christian Concern. “The assumption behind this is that the Christian faith is bad for society. This is demonstrably not the case, as this survey shows. Jesus’ teachings inspire people to serve other people in their communities.

“The Government must ensure that its legislation – whether Charity law or equalities legislation – does not inhibit churches and Christian organizations from carrying out their service whilst maintaining an overtly Christian ethos.”

Read the full text of this article and follow links to related items in London’s Telegraph newspaper, by clicking here.

Learn how to make a LoveLoud difference in your community by clicking here.

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