Community Social Action

coaches_jeff-150x1501by Jeff Tunnell

In our community there are multiple social agencies that assist the needy; poor, abused, substance abusers (drugs/alcohol), single parent, domestic violence, transportation services, food for elderly shut-ins, food banks, thrift stores, etc.  They all compete for Govermnent funding to continue their noble efforts, while looking to the community for donations. and manpower.

Aren’t these works the responsibility of the Body of Christ?  I reflect that if these agency leaders became believers in Jesus and followed their heartfelt (perhaps inborn) desires, they would then become the organizers of the “arms” of our Savior reaching into out surrounding populaiton.

We stand back saying something like this, “Our small congregation does not have the resources to meet all these needs, so let’s allow the social action groups (non-christian) take the job. After all, they can qualify for funding where a religious group cannot.”  However, I contend that a balanced, life-giving cell church would have all they need if they were winning the lost to Christ and utilizing the generosity of believers (Acts 2:42-47) as in the early church formations.

How can the church become the answer to Social needs?

3 thoughts on “Community Social Action

  • I agree. A balanced, life-giving and multiplying cell church would have the resources for social outreach. The love of Christ will motivate us to care for those in need (1 Cor. 13:3). However, I don’t believe the question should be; “how can the church become the answer to social needs?” The question should be; how can the Church become to answer to society’s needs? How can the Church be the answer to what the world needs?

    Since we are proponents of cell churches, we know that to obey Jesus’ Great Commission, our focus must be prayer & intercession, evangelizing and discipleship.This will happen when we equip everyone to do the work of the gospel. This is why cell churches are so successful in accomplishing that. Everyone has the opportunity and training to work together effectively in ministry? That’s what I love about cell churches where the Holy Spirit inspires a daily outpouring of love for God and each other.

    Most importantly, we need to cry out to our Lord Jesus Christ for a sovereign move of God. May God bring His Spirit of conviction for the idols in our hearts and in our churches. May tears of repentance bring us to our knees to intercede for people held in bondage to sin in our country. Are Christians in the U.S.A. too rich and comfortable to be passionately in love with Jesus? Do we have too many other gods that dominate our thoughts and our time?

    When we truly love God first and our neighbors as ourselves, then we will realize that our obsession with a “bless-me gospel” is a selfish offense to our Lord Who laid down His life for us. Lord, please deliver us from the greed and the lust for pleasure that has gotten our country into such a mess. Chasten us because You love us, Lord. Correct us. Show us our hearts of pride. Give us the priorities of Your Kingdom.

    May we have a heart to care for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the unborn. Most importantly, show us how to do the real work of the Church; the work no social agency can do. Change our hearts, Lord Jesus that we may be on our knees crying out to You for help. We need You, Jesus!

    Charles Chalson

  • I would like to respectfully suggest an alternative. In my research I differentiate between a relational networking (cell) approach to disciplemaking and an “institutional world view.”

    The latter seeks to (1) create holy institutions and delegate obedience to a commandment to the agency and then (2) ask Christians to support the institution in its work, rather than obeying the commandment directly and individually. Rather than directly and individually serving others, we invite them to come to the church/institution to be served. We define “love thy neighbor” as the neighborhood around the institutional church building rather than the neighborhood around the disciple. That’s the institutional world view.

    Examples of this “two step obedience” are particularly obvious with regard to the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” and the Great Commission. People more interested in this concept can email me.

    If the research is correct that evangelism only works after a relationship is developed, then all that is necessary is to serve in a way that creates a relationship with the individual through which grace can flow. One does not need an agency to do that.

    In this day when every volunteer is precious, Christians can volunteer within other agencies rather than duplicate them. We are salt and light wherever we go, and the witness of who we are remains clear.

    One example: 20 years ago the church I now serve had an afterschool program. It ground to a halt a few weeks after one child threatened to report a leader for sexually molesting him if he did not receive an extra brownie. The church became aware of how vulnerable it was.

    In addition, lots of energy was expended in developing the program (institution) than could have been fully invested in service if someone else ran the program (institution). This is what the house church people are telling us – skip the “create an institution” part and obey the Lord.

    I’m now encouraging our people instead to directly volunteer within their local school. The school then handles all the other issues: liability, supervision, discipline, building, snacks, janitorial service, etc. Not surprising, my people are uncomfortable with “going” and there is resistance to this change. I have however recently joined the PTA of the school two blocks from my church and plan to be very visible to the children and their parents at PTA activities. It’s a target rich environment both for service and evangelism if one uses a networking approach. I expect to become a “person of peace” pretty rapidly in that environment.

    This is a “go” structure and over time could create a very positive influence in a public school setting, particularly in smaller towns where the community has more influence in schools. When we create our own agency, we create a “come structure.”

    In short, if you want to serve others, why not just go and serve them – why would you want to divert energy from serving into creating another institutional entity? I would suggest that that’s the old leaven.

    David Kueker

  • I offer the “amen” to Charles’ prayer and offer “thanks” to Dave for his thougthtful comments! Penetration is a core value of cell ministry, and “go” is definitely the commission.

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