| || |
| || |
HOPE Step By Step
How do you start sharing hope in your community? Here are five steps to get you started if you and your church are starting a fresh focus on mission.
Start by praying for your community. Ask God to show you how to be the Body of Christ: to see your area as he sees it; to hear the voices of those on the margins; to love with his heart; to serve as he would serve. Try prayer walking through your community or around its boundaries. Ask church members to bring something to represent their workplace or neighbourhood and pray for their witness in that context.
What would Jesus do? Faced with the unique set of needs and opportunities in your area, what is God calling your congregation to do in words and actions to share the hope Jesus gives?
What part can your church play in the wider work of the Church in your area? Each church has different strengths: ministry to children, young people, families, senior citizens, different ethnic groups; in schools, hospitals, universities, workplaces; through clubs, community centres, foodbanks, festivals, music, the arts… the possibilities are endless. Don’t spread yourselves too thin. Ask God to show you what to do and work with others who have different strengths.
What do you need to learn to be equipped for ministry in your community? The apostle Peter said: ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15). Can each member of your community put their faith into words? Or maybe your church members need help finding ways to put faith into action serving others. Get the training needed to make sure that mission becomes a lifestyle for each member of the congregation.
Start putting theory into practice with lots of prayer: prayer with other churches; prayer as a congregation; prayer in special seasons of 24/7 intercession; prayer in families; prayer in triplets.
Our heavenly Father says: ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Lucy Cooper, 23/04/2012