Halfway around the world, fighting has broken out along the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The violence has thrown the already volatile and troubled region into renewed chaos. Residents are fleeing the city of Goma.
Given that our church has a relationship with some missionaries who have served in the area, today (Sunday) we presented the church with an opportunity to provide emergency funds to provide displaced people in the area with basic necessities. These missionaries also regularly provide goats for widows and bicycles for local pastors in the region. They also equip local pastors to teach their congregations “the whole council of God.”
Our church’s relationship with these missionaries is relatively young, but we’re excited about it, not only because of the great good they are doing in an extremely dangerous part of the world, but because their values closely mirror our values as a church.
As I’ve noted before, the unique mission of the church is that of gospel proclamation, that is, bringing the good news that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and that, for any who will come to Him in faith, He will give eternal life now and forever. That being said, we still have the responsibility to help the needy whenever we are given the opportunity. Sending money to local churches in the DRC and Rwanda is a way we can meet that need.
We as a church value “holistic Gospel mission.” That is, we want to reach out to the whole person, both their physical and spiritual needs. Whenever possible, we don’t want to sacrifice one for the other. Some situations call for us to meet a spiritual need. Some call for us to meet a more practical or pressing need.
This is part of what we’re trying to do with our After School program. One of our primary motivations for starting the program was to provide kids in our area with a safe and fun place to go between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00. Local city leaders had informed us that this was a dangerous time for kids, where they could get recruited into gangs or get into trouble. We were trying to meet a very practical need for the city. But, it’s also a great opportunity for us to teach the kids about God – to present them with a message they might not hear anywhere else.
On face value – comparing our mission to the kids of Wyoming and our missionaries’ mission to the displaced in DRC/Rwanda – seems trite. Certainly, the conditions in DRC/Rwanda are much more dire. Nevertheless, the two missions come out of the same value set, a desire to meet the practical and spiritual needs of the world around us, by loving, serving, and proclaiming Christ.
Note: This post is the first of a series on the values of the church where I currently serve: Wyoming Park Bible Fellowship and this post appears there as well.