Church, We Are the Solution
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I'm tired of listening to people's problems.
It may seem harsh, but I'm tired of just listening to the noise about what’s wrong in our communities, and you should be tired of it, too. The time has come for the body of Christ to do more than listen. We need to stand up and be the solution for our broken world, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the book of Nehemiah, one hundred and sixty years after the start of Israel's captivity, God stoked the heart of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the capital city of his ancestors. Nehemiah heard the news that "the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire," then he wept and mourned over the situation. He also prayed and sought direction from the Lord, and God paved the way for Nehemiah to fix the problem. Nehemiah 1:3 (KJV)
We've been weeping over the brokenness of society for a long time. Now it's time to get our hands dirty and rebuild.
When Nehemiah organized the rebuilding of the wall and its gates, different groups stepped up to take a section. Over 40 individuals, families, and groups are specifically named in Nehemiah 3. The Word tells us in what order they worked along the wall, and in many cases, the specific job they had. Here's what stands out to me about the process:
1) They worked alongside each other.
The rebuilding didn't start in random sections all around the city. The groups came together and worked side-by-side.
2) Everyone had a specific assignment.
Each group was assigned a task to get the whole thing completed, so that the city could be fortified again as soon as possible.
We can look at the different groups in Nehemiah 3 as individual churches in a community and each section of the wall as a different ministry opportunity.
One church, no matter how motivated the members are, or how many resources the church has, cannot be the answer to all the problems in a community. But with planning and communication, imagine what can be accomplished when churches work together! I've never tried to organize a coalition of churches, and it sounds like a grandiose, and slightly crazy, task. But it all starts with a vision! Here are some ideas a group of churches might consider to start being problem-solvers in their communities.
- Do something. Have a specific outreach ministry of some kind.
- Know the needs in the community.
- Have specialized areas of focus. Don't try to do everything.
- Network with and promote the ministries of other churches.
- Mentor other churches in areas where they are lacking.
- Work across denominations to promote unity within the Body.
Now, I believe the most important mission within every church is to preach the "power of God unto salvation.”(KJV) The solution to the problems isn't really "Christians", it's Christ. But we can show the love of Christ by meeting the lost where they are and by encouraging other believers beyond the walls of the church.
What are some ministry opportunities on which a church might focus? Here are a few:
- Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse
- Youth Ministry/Mentoring
- Racial Division
- Needs of the Impoverished - food, clothing, etc.
- Foreign missions
- Family counseling
- Environmental concerns
- Nursing homes/Group homes
- Pregnancy Care Centers
- Foster care and adoption
Collectively, we need to be organized. If every church in a community visits the nursing home once a month, that's wonderful! But if no churches in a community are working to help the homeless, then there's a gap in the wall. If we coordinate our efforts, we can close the gap. At the same time, if a church has ten different outreaches, their resources may be stretched too thin to be effective. That's a gap that could be filled by another congregation.
We can't fix it all. Until the return of Christ, there will be sin in the world, which leads to all the problems around us. But we've been acting defeated for too long. It's time to work and let the world know we have the answer. His name is Jesus.
Copyright © 2018 Heather Norman Smith. Used with permission.
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