I really enjoyed the recent Sabbath School lessons on The Role of the Church in the Community. I was sorry to see the lessons end as each week’s lesson gave me a lot to think about. We were invited to connect to our community, both inside and outside our church, and to meet some of the needs we discover. We also looked at how Jesus mingled with people, always desiring their good and discovered principles we can apply, such as the “anyway” principle. Peter denied Jesus three times the night before the crucifixion, but Jesus loved him anyway and knew Peter would be an amazing leader of the young Christian church. His great love for Peter fueled Peter’s passion to share Jesus with others in a mighty way. Jesus also showed great sympathy towards others and demonstrated repeatedly how transforming it is to experience genuine caring concern from another person. That same love and sympathy will transform our inner church community as well as our greater community in which we live.
A most important aspect of ministering to people’s needs is to find out what the needs are instead of just guessing. This can include a survey done in our own church, door to door surveys, checking with church and community leaders, asking people who live in a given area about their thoughts about unmet community needs, and relying on God’s guidance. Granted there is some risk in this approach. What if the needs are so big we cannot handle them? One option of doing ministry is to ask others to work with us. This could include joining with various community groups already working on an issue of interest to us or working with another church in the community. Adventist HealthCare has regular meetings that include Seventh-day Adventist health ministry leaders from several area congregations as well as health ministry leaders from various denominations in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties. It is amazing to hear about the ministries going on in churches throughout the counties. We have been discussing how we might strengthen each other by sharing resources and ideas between churches.
Here are some points to consider while we apply last quarter’s lessons to where we live, work, and worship:
(1) No pew warmers needed. There are countless ways - large and small = for us to make a difference in God’s kingdom here and now.
(2) You can’t walk on water unless you get out of the boat. Join a ministry at Sligo. Take some small steps. Pray about what you can do in your sphere.
(3) People not projects. Sincere sympathy and love lead us to get to really know others. Follow Jesus’ way. People know the difference.
Let’s share the adventure of partnering with God to build His kingdom while we occupy until He comes!