Sickness. Death. The Birth of a Baby. The loss of a job. Life is filled with events that often leave us needing a hand - a meal, transportation, a house cleaning, a sitter for children, someone to simply listen.
When They Are Connected, Family
I was abruptly awakened by my wife Wednesday morning - 'Ivey (our daughter) has had an accident. She's OK. She hit a patch of ice and rolled your car.' She was OK, thankfully! The car was obviously not. Throughout the day we received calls and messages from our church family, some checking on Ivey, others checking on Amy and many asking if there was anything that they could do. That's the koinonia fellowship that describes the church. That's what it is like to be connected to a church who really is family. In times of need, the church has an opportunity to be what God has made us to be for those who are connected with us.
When They Are Not Connected, an Invitation to Family
But often we miss our opportunity to be what God has made us to be for those not so connected... the family who rarely attends, the Sunday morning couple who have never visited a Missional Community, the neighbor who attends nowhere. Often the needs of this group are even greater than the needs of those who are connected. They are greater because those in this group often lack the community that they were created for. They lack the family that they long for. And sometimes they lack the redemption and restoration that we enjoy in Jesus. When we provide a meal, transportation, or a house cleaning, when we are a sitter for their children or someone to simply listen, we offer a glimpse at what the Kingdom is like. We give them a peek into the family of God. More, we have an opportunity to extend to them the grace that has been extended to us in Jesus - redemption, restoration, a place to belong, a family.
Serving in times of need should ultimately come as the overflow of our love for Jesus and our love for people - not only those people who are already in our community (family), but also those who aren't. But more than a love that wants to help through a difficult time, ours should be a love that, in the end, desires that our friends, family, neighbors and coworkers are walking with Jesus. Serving is more than serving. Serving is also mission.
For those connected to our family, serving is an invitation to a deeper fellowship with that family and invitation to join in serving others.
For those not connected to our family, our serving should be accompanied by an invitation to join the family/community that is serving them - it is an invitation to belong.
Community or Family is not the end.
Serving as Mission
Community is something that we were created for. As such it is crucial for our health. That is, when the community that we are connected with is a community that loves and follows Jesus, a community that believes the gospel and lives life in light of that great news. It is in that gospel-centered community that we are most likely to grow, both in our love of Jesus and in our transformation into His very image. A deeper walk with a gospel-centered community provides a greater opportunity for a deeper walk with Jesus - and that is the end we seek for those we love. Our deepest desire should not simply be that people are served, or even that people come to be a part of our community. Our deepest desire should be seeing the people around us love and follow Jesus! When this is the case then our serving isn't simply serving, our serving is also mission.
Want to see people become connected to your church?
Serve them lovingly in their time of need and invite them.
Want to see your Missional Community grow numerically?
Serve those people who are connected to your MC, but also serve those NOT connected to your MC in their times of need.
Want to see your Missional Community grow spiritually?
Serve others together in their times of need.
- Adopt a mom not connected who has recently had a baby - team up, pair up - help with cleaning, shopping, meals, or sitting,
- Provide meals for a disconnected family who has lost a loved one, attend visitation or the funeral,
- Help a family who has lost a job with providing groceries or suggesting job opportunities or temporary work...,
(there is almost an infinite number ways that you can serve)
Want to see Christians grow in their walk with Jesus?
Serve them into your Missional Community, and then walk with them.
Want to see non-Christians grow to love and follow Jesus?
Serve them in their time of need. Share with them the hope you have in Jesus. Invite them to be a part of the family by serving them.