Community Matters

by Annie Brown

Reaching Those Around Us 

Other than pastors and church staff, the average person spends roughly four hours at church during the week. Therefore, the majority of life is experienced in corporate offices, medical districts, and educational settings. Prayerfully, our time spent worshiping with the body of Christ propels us with joy and confidence into our weekly tasks and interactions. 

It is easy, however, to become comfortable in our routine. We attend church at the beginning of each new week and hit the ground running with life’s busy schedule and to-do lists. Along the way, we can easily forget the sermon we heard and miss opportunities to engage with unbelievers, pray for our world, and make disciples. The most important aspects of our faith become the very things we put on the back burner.

Distraction is a tremendous tactic of the enemy. He is rarely threatened by climbing screen time reports and binged Netflix series after long work weeks. Though these things are not sinful by themselves, both can become distractions from time with the Lord and others. Neither will be truly restful nor are able to re-ignite readiness inside of us. It is in our passion and boldness that Satan targets us. Reaching our community for Christ requires determination and reliance on the Holy Spirit.  James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” In our submission, we win every time.

Our pastor often asks the question, “Who is close to you but far from God?” In our daily lives, we cross paths with dozens of people who do not know Christ as their personal Savior. We can travel across the globe on mission trips, but if we fail to serve our neighbors in loving-kindness, we have missed the mark. May we resist the temptations of comfort and distraction in order to do ministry in every facet of our life. Jesus himself modeled this. Where he went, he did ministry. Ministry opportunities followed him, not the other way around. The Gospel message travels with us in how we speak, think, dress, act, work, and play. In our pursuit of righteousness and obedience, we will shine Christ to a world in need. 

In non-Christian work environments, negativity is common. For someone walking closely with Jesus, this can feel especially weighty. It is challenging to be the outlier almost every day of the week. Yet, it is exactly where the Lord has positioned you to accomplish his work for his glory. If a career setting is abusive and toxic, it is unhealthy to stay there. However, for most, though the challenges exist, the opportunity for impact is exciting. 

Who can you bless in your direct sphere of influence? The fear of judgment can no longer hold us back. The message of hope is urgent. Colossians chapter three commissions believers to do all things for the Lord rather than people. Our position at work does not compete with our portion in Christ. He is available to all people, everywhere, and the opportunity to share is ever present. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. 

Remembering the Nations 

Communities around the world are just as much in need of God’s truth as the people directly near us. We all need hope, and it exists only in Jesus. I have traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti two separate times. Our team stayed at a beautiful orphanage in the heart of the city. Over eighty percent of Haiti’s population practices Voodoo. The sound of drums and chanting fill the streets as satanic rituals that take place into the wee hours of the morning. 

As Christians, this should grieve us to the point of action. Knowing that there are nations where a large percentage of people worship someone or something other than Jesus should break our hearts. 

Furthermore, we must remember the nations and people groups who have yet to hear the name of Jesus at all. Pastor David Platt does a remarkable job speaking to the need for Scripture to be available in every language and tongue. Though the Lord is incredibly powerful to reveal himself through amazing ways, his Word is our primary source to know his heart and promises. 

In America, we have Scripture readily available in our native language. Not only that, but we can access the Word of God in various versions and even on our cell phones at a moment’s notice. This privilege is too often lost on us.

Along with our accessibility to the Bible, we are blessed to worship the Lord among other believers in freedom and safety. For most, we gather in church sanctuaries one to two times every single week. Yet, across the globe, our brothers and sisters in Christ are risking their lives to gather as the collective body for teaching and discipleship. 

The Great Commission tells us to make disciples of all nations. This means that we minister to different religions. We are loving those who live differently than we do. Being a disciple of Christ means we resist the barrier of apathy and choose to walk in faithful obedience. 1 Corinthians reminds us that we were bought at a price. The grace we experience in Jesus cost him his very life. 

We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. In doing this, our fleshly desires are denied. We say no to the temptations of comfortability and complacency. The psalmist in Psalm chapter 119 repeatedly says that he delights in the Lord and his law with his whole heart. Loving God with our whole heart means that everything within us seeks to please him. We love him more than even the things he does. We love him for who he is and his grace towards us. 

This love drives us to serve the nations. His love propels us to pray for those who persecute us. As we remember our personal testimonies and the overwhelming gift of mercy we have received, it should be impossible to sit still. Lord, will you break our hearts for what breaks yours? 

Raising Warriors 

It is often said that your family is your number one ministry. The Word of God confirms this, particularly for pastors and leaders in ministry. 1 Timothy 3:5 says, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” In order to reach more people with the Gospel, we must raise warriors in the Lord. 

Whether we are caring for our biological family members or children that have been entrusted to us in other ways, it is important to train and teach the upcoming generations to know Jesus and his Word. What begins in our home overflows into our community and even the world. 

Praying for and with your children, spouse, and other family members is powerful. 1 Corinthians says that the kingdom of God is not built in word but in power. The power lies in praying to Jesus, relying on his Spirit, and speaking his truth out loud in boldness. 

What happens within the walls of our home has the potential to spark revival in the homes around us. Families that cultivate prayerfulness, worship, and intimate discipleship are best prepared to reach the world both together and individually. 

It is a privilege to send our children to church programming and services on a weekly basis. Yet, it is not solely the pastor’s responsibility to disciple them. As parents, we are called to train our children in the way that they should go. It is a beautiful sight to eventually release our children into the world and watch the Lord expand their ministry beyond what we could even imagine. 

Community is a gift. We need people, and people need us. The Lord will give us eyes to see and ears to hear as we ask him. There are countless opportunities to reach the world for Jesus. You are the church. May we be the church. 

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