A Shining Light
There can be no life without light. 1 Timothy 6:16 declares that God Himself dwells in light. The church is to be the light of the world and the light of the community. The church is commissioned to carry the light of the gospel truth to the world. It must never hide its light, or allow the world and the community to remain in darkness. In addition to its witness of the gospel, it must also glorify God by its good works. This means that the church must not only declare the gospel, it must also demonstrate the compassion of the gospel with the good works of service to humanity.
Ellen G. White revealed the mission of the church in Acts of the Apostles, which says, “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.” Notice that it says that the church was organized for service: service to the world, service to the city, and service to the community. The goal of the church today must be to minister to the felt needs of the community, both physically and spiritually. Every member should be given the opportunity to minister in some way for Christ to the needs of others.
Christ demonstrated concern and compassion for humanity with His good works that uplifted the fallen, healed the sick and ministered to the needy. His mission resonated with Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (NKJ)
Following the Master’s example, we must reach out in service to the people of the community. But first, we must find out what the needs are, then develop programs and activities to meet those needs. This can be done by members going door-to-door to assess the needs of the community. Also, members who live in the community could provide information about the needs of the community. Secondly, the community should be informed about the services and programs that the local church provides. A number of helpful programs include food pantries, health fairs and seminars, youth athletic programs, tutoring programs, finance and family seminars or mentoring programs.
It is not enough to conduct evangelistic meetings and prophecy seminars. These evangelistic efforts will be more productive if there are ongoing services to the community; these efforts will impact the lives of people and fulfill the Master’s mission.
Finally, the local church must pass on the torch of service to the youth. Young men and women must be prepared and trained to carry on the mission of service to the community. They must understand that the mission is ministry to others and service to the community. Let us let our light shine that the community will see our good works of service for Christ, and be prepared for our Lord’s return.
By Grace Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church Pastor Helvius Thompson