Loving God and Others

A Biblical vision for transforming the church to transform our city and Valley

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” Jesus, (Mark 12:30-31)

A foundation of prayer

  • Focused and ongoing prayer would undergird everything that happens. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16b, NLT)

The need for love

  • Among God’s people there would be renewed worship and love for the Lord, which would result in greater obedience to the Lord out of gratitude for His great love for us. “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
  • The culture of the Church would be transformed in order for the Church to transform our city and our valley.  Jesus said to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”  Although many churches are doing this, there is much room for improvement.  Some churches will need to move from a self-serving, self-focused mentality to a “missional culture” which focuses more on “others”.  They would need to expect believers to also be disciples and followers of Jesus to actually follow Jesus by doing what He did on earth.  Jesus mostly walked down the street, touched others at their point of need and showed God’s love to them in word and deed which brought healing to their lives.  As followers of Jesus, we must do the same. “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” (I John 2:6)

Getting Involved:

  • We would share this vision with key pastors, ministry leaders, government leaders and business people, across racial and denominational lines.  We would ask them to work together to help transform our community. “…Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (II Timothy 2:2b, NLT)
  • Churches would unite in a citywide/valley wide vision of transforming lives and communities in the name of Christ, with the purpose of their congregation having vision and a mission to follow Jesus. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved me.” (John 17:23b)
  • The task is so great that every Christian would be challenged to love their neighbors on their street by praying, caring and sharing the Gospel with them as the Lord leads.  This would also include their family and those at their school or workplace.  We need to love them and lead them to Jesus Christ and His family, the Church.  This step alone could transform our city/valley. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14)
  • An army of thousands of Church volunteers would be organized to make their gifts and abilities available to serve people in need.  With over 500 congregations, the Church is by far the largest group in the city.  Churches would name Love INC Contact Persons, to be trained by Love INC to enlist these volunteers.  They would respond to needs that arise, including those in their church and those in the community screened by Love INC.  They would be encouraged to serve others in a relational, loving way as Jesus did and to help them get back on their feet if needed.  With God’s help, there is no need the church can’t meet.  “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10)

Making Connections:

  • Churches that have “more” in our city/valley would be connected with churches that have “less” in order for them to work together for the transformation of both the churches and their communities. “As it is written, he who gathered much did not have too much and he that gathered little did not have too little.” (II Cor. 8:15)
  • Churches would be connected to serve in several key areas including:
    • Schools
    • Neighborhoods
    • Low income apartments
    • Mentoring youth
    • The many outreach ministries in our city/valley
       
  • Christians would join with local ministries, be trained and begin to serve others that they normally would have never come into contact with. About 70 local parachurch ministries have been asked how many church volunteers they need to accomplish their mission. They have identified thousands of opportunities for Christian volunteers to serve in our community. As we serve, our compassion will grow. “Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’” (Matthew 9:37-38)
  • Most churches would allow regular opportunities in their services for sharing testimonies of how God is transforming and using their people so that others are stirred to love and good works. Jesus said, “‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him.  And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:19-20)       

Following Jesus by serving others:

  • In time, most Christians in our community would follow Jesus in service to others, most churches would be involved in serving others, and most Christians would love their neighbors in word and deed. Following Jesus, by serving others, would become normal for Christians and not serving others would be seen as abnormal for followers of Jesus. If not, most of those around us will perish, but if so it will transform our city and our valley. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)     

 

Evangelicals for Social Action/Fresno
Fresno, CA
3/10/2008