Engaging Our City Pt. 1
By Jonathan Nason
New Hope exists to glorify God and make disciples by engaging our city with the love of Jesus one relationship at a time.
All churches exist to glorify God and make disciples, but we believe that churches are unique, just like individual people. Therefore, we feel it necessary to define the unique way New Hope is called to fulfill that mission of glorifying God and making disciples.
We have defined our unique mission as engaging our city with the love of Jesus one relationship at a time. In this post, I want to give you part 1 of 2 of what we mean by engaging our city.
What do we mean by engaging our city?
First, we mean that we will engage our city both spiritually and physically. We understand that the salvation Jesus gives us is first and foremost spiritual. Therefore we will engage primarily with the message of reconciliation...
2 Corinthians 5:17–21 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But our spiritual being is not separated from our physical being. Therefore, we will engage the physical (social) needs of our city also.
We will be concerned with feeding those who need food so that we can communicate that Jesus is the bread of life.
We will give a drink to those who are thirsty so that we can communicate that Jesus is the eternal water and he will fully satisfy.
We will clothe those who need clothing so that we can communicate that Jesus cloths us with his eternal righteousness.
We will speak up for the oppressed so that we can communicate that Jesus is our rescuer.
We will speak up for justice so that we can communicate that Jesus is just and holy.
We will speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves because Jesus is the great mediator who speaks up for us.
Isaiah 1:16-17 sums up perfectly how the spiritual and physical relate...
[Spiritual] Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, [Physical] learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Second, we mean that we will engage our city both programmatically and organically. Programmatic engagement is event-based and requires planning ahead of time. This type is necessary and useful in organizing groups of people to accomplish a specific form of engagement. Some examples of programmatic engagement include local and global mission trips like our trip to Guatemala in August or Summer Blast in July; or even smaller events like F.L.I.P (Free Lunch in the Park).
Organic engagement is when we engage by meeting need (spiritual or physical) without anyone telling us to. This type of engagement is spontaneous and just happens as followers of Jesus see a need and meet that need. We believe every follower of Jesus is to live sent in the world around them. Everyday we should be looking at the world with eyes of compassion and mercy, and when we see a need we don’t hesitate to meet that need with whatever gifts and resources God has blessed us with.
We desire that every believer would live daily surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Organic engagement takes it cues from the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Ultimately, we pray that every follower of Jesus would live surrendered to Jesus daily and live sent daily, engaging our city by meeting both spiritual and physical needs that we encounter.
Today, would you engage our city with the love of Jesus one relationship at a time!