Loving Our Community & Our World
We are called to love:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:26-27
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36
Loving our neighbor is the natural extension of authentic faith. We seek to imitate Christ as he served and loved those around him by feeding them, healing them, and providing for their needs. Loving others in outreach should not be seen only as a tool for winning souls, but a way to directly love Christ by serving the least of these.
The Great Commission
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus calls us to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them His commands. Outreach is loving our neighbors by ministering to their physical and relational needs, establishing relationships, and using the opportunities provided by those relationships to further minister through prayer and sharing the Gospel.
While each individual is called to those around them, and The Church is called to reach the whole world, outreach at Passion Community has two primary focuses:
Our vision locally is to have a direct impact on people in Lynchburg and the surrounding areas. We seek to love the people local to us through direct ministry, and by partnering with effective local ministries and civic organizations to enable them to be more effective.
Our vision globally is to partner with existing churches and help establish new churches around the world that, in turn, have a direct impact on their local area.
Globally, local churches will be more effective in directly ministering to and establishing relationships with the people around them than we could be as outsiders. We seek to minister to and reach people with the Gospel all around the world by enabling churches around the world to be more effective. Locally we seek to model the kind of ministry and outreach that we hope our global partner churches will practice.
As we use the time, talent, and generosity within Passion Community for Outreach we strive to be good stewards of those resources. To ensure this, we use three guiding principles for how and where to direct our outreach energy.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:2
Hypocritical outreach is focused on image. Outreach that comes from our heart is focused on being effective. This means focusing on the real impact ministry has on real people, instead of how our ministry looks to ourselves and others. When we focus on effectiveness it helps ensure resources are not being wasted, but are being used on projects that have actual impact on people, ministering to their physical and spiritual needs. Effective ministry is others-focused ministry.
“And wherever He went—villages and towns and countrysides—they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him to let them just touch the fringe of His cloak. And all who touched Him were healed.” Mark 6:56
Jesus’ ministry on earth was direct and relational. We seek to imitate Christ and his approach to ministry. This means our outreach should be tangible.
Tangible outreach means those within the church willing to give financially of their time and effort, should be able to see and understand how they’re impacting lives. Especially financially, those who are giving to missions should not feel as though they’re giving towards an abstract concept of “ministry” but towards real people and effective outreach.
Tangible outreach also means that the people we minister to locally and globally should feel touched by us as a church. Those we reach should not feel as though their needs are being met by an abstract organization, but by real people.
Tangible outreach also ensures there is opportunity to establish relationships, and minister to people spiritually.
We are intentional in the way that we do outreach as a church. Accountable outreach means not performing ministry to blindly fulfill a sense of obligation, but to truly love and minister to the world Jesus loves and died to save. As such, we consistently evaluate our outreach opportunities and methods do determine whether they are effective and tangible. We strive to be good stewards of our financial giving, and ensuring that those we give to are as well.