Archive for the tag “LoveLoud”

Social justice and the Mission

Ryan West outlines how a church can help its surrounding community, and in turn, share the good news of God’s love.

West is the national coordinator for LoveLoud at the North American Mission Board. LoveLoud is a movement of churches demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human need while sharing Christ.

LoveLoud … the neglected

sing oldhamRoger S. Oldham writes at bpnews.net about LoveLoud Sunday, July 21:

Every community has needs. The sheer number of people in the inner cities amplifies the brokenness of our sin-infected and impoverished world. If we are to reclaim our nation with the Gospel, there is a tremendous need for healthy churches to reach out to these teeming masses.

NAMB‘s LoveLoud emphasis has a threefold strategy: mobilize your church to love neglected neighbors, to love neglected communities and to love neglected children.

Overlooked and often neglected neighbors include those struggling with substance abuse, homelessness, hunger, incarceration and/or physical or emotional disabilities. Other neglected neighbors include victims of human trafficking, people from other nations who have moved to the neighborhood and widows.

Neglected sectors of the community can be served through innovative ministries such as literacy missions, medical and dental clinics, sports outreach ministries, adopt-a-school initiatives, and community transformation through economic and community development.

Neglected children can be served through such ministries as pregnancy care, foster care, adoption and mentoring programs.

NAMB recommends three learning steps for churches willing to embark on the LoveLoud journey.

Community Prayerwalk — seeing people and communities “through the eyes of Jesus.” Prayerwalking among the people and visiting the places where they live, work and shop will allow God to speak to you about His love for them and their great need for Him.

Community Exploration Experience (CEE) — a CEE is a natural next step following a community prayerwalk. This is an opportunity for personal interactions and an intentional focus on gathering information.

Community Strengths and Needs Survey — this step moves a church deeper in the learning process and requires developing relationships with community leaders. It is very important to show respect and appreciation for these community leaders. Remember, you are entering their community as learners and as servants. …

Communities that have a healthy church in their midst (what Donald McGavran called a “true church”) are communities that experience a “lift” that accompanies redemption. Fellowship buoys the members. Concerned friends gather at bedsides to pray during sickness. Reading and hearing the Bible reminds the church family that God is for them and is available to them. Realizing they are sons and daughters of the King, members of the church act as such and begin living for others. In short, he wrote, a community “in which many others have accepted Christ, becomes a better and better place to live.”

In preparation for LoveLoud Sunday, set for July 21 on the SBC calendar, ask the Lord to let you see the community where you live with the eyes of Jesus. Then ask Him to lift your eyes to the wider fields of harvest. While all effective ministry begins in our own Jerusalem, it must not stop there. Where in your Judea and your Samaria do you need to establish new pockets of ministry? What part of the “uttermost” is the Lord leading your church to engage with the Gospel?

Read more about LoveLoud by clicking here.

Must we engage social concerns?

Should biblical Christians engage social concerns? Is helping the poor or pursuing social justice for the oppressed an integral part of the Christian mission? Or should believers simply focus on an individual’s ext-life destiny and share only a verbal witness?

William WardToo many Christians are reluctant to engage justice issues. Some have deep misgivings about the doctrine and methods of some social justice activists. Others are not convinced the mission of the church includes anything more than “mercy ministries.” A few aren’t even willing to go that far.  ;^)

Ryan West, a PhD candidate at Southern Seminary and national LoveLoud coordinator for the North American Mission Board, points out in a new two-part blog post at andrewfullercenter.org that believers must consider the issue not only from the angle of the biblical witness, as Russell Moore and Tim Keller have done well, but that history must be consulted as well.

In his short series, entitled Should Baptists Care About Social Concerns?, West offers up the example of William Ward, a member of the famous Serampore Trio in Bengal, India, and a leading missiologist of his day (1769-1823). During 20-plus years as a missionary in India, Ward had to cope with the horrific atrocities of Bengali society: infanticide, euthanasia of the elderly, beheadings to placate Hindu gods, and widespread prostitution, as West lists them.

West writes: “[Ward’s] approach to undermine such evils was two-fold. He sought to take appropriate action and to ensure that the gospel permeated all of India’s society. These two forms of response were based on a fundamental conviction: lasting social change would occur only when the gospel took root within a culture.”

In sermons  delivered on a three-year preaching tour of America and Britain, Ward sought to mobilize Christian women “to respond to the message with benevolence and action,” West writes.

“By raising awareness concerning the abuse of women in India, Ward believed he would ‘ultimately secure an amelioration’ of their suffering. Allowing Indian women to continue as prisoners and slaves would be unimaginable in Ward’s mind once he preached this sermon. … After offering a gruesome account of families killing women by burying their mothers alive, he urged the women of Britain and America to unite and make the case of Indian women their common cause.”

At the same time, Ward never expected significant social change in India apart from the gospel taking root, West points out.

“In his earlier years, Ward proved to be a radical activist that nearly escaped imprisonment twice. Political upheaval modeled on the French Revolution was his ideal during the 1790’s,” West writes. “His conversion and subsequent development over several decades of ministry in India brought about a much different approach to such concerns by the time he preached these sermons. For the seasoned Ward, lasting social change would only occur if the gospel permeated a society.”

By the end of his career, Ward had become a “gospel activist”: “Biblical Christians could not be concerned with their neighbors’ eternal condition without caring for their immediate needs,” West writes. “Biblical Christians had no choice but to pursue biblical justice through the means of social action coupled with anchoring a society in biblical beliefs.”

Contemporary Baptists, West concludes, also “must address the physical, social, and mental needs evident in the surrounding culture … rescuing women from sex trafficking, loving—and possibly adopting—children abandoned to foster care or absentee parents, and speak out against the horrors of abortion and systemic oppression.  To ignore these matters is irresponsible and unloving.  Such responses would prove equally irresponsible and unloving, however, if Baptists do not seek to establish gospel wisdom in these conversations.  Lasting social change will only come through individuals who experience the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.”

Learn more about NAMB’s LoveLoud initiative by clicking here.

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