Those two words – depending on the circles you roll with – are either really bad news or really good news.
But for the latter, it’s not truly the good news.
But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel…
If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God’s pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire world.
I believe in this Gospel.
I live for this Gospel.
And while folks may disagree on the meaning, context, and agenda behind the vernacular or verbiage of such words as social justice…
Christians ought to agree in the Gospel that is revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
- a Gospel that not only saves but also serves
- a Gospel that not only saves but seeks to restore all things back unto the One that ushered forth all that is good and beautiful
- a Gospel that not only saves but ushers in the Kingdom of God
- a Gospel that not only saves but restores the dignity of human beauty – even in the midst of our brokenness and depravity.
This Gospel is not just for us. It is good news for all
- especially the least, the marginalized, the poor, the forgotten, the forsaken, the alone…
How can we not believe in this kind of Gospel…when this Gospel has been extended unto us?
Truly, the Gospel saves…but thankfully, it does more than save. The Gospel not only saves, but invites us to a life that God intended for us and in that pursuit, God desires for us to
love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly.
One of the things that’s giving me great joy and vitality in this current season of my life is our church’s commitment to bumbling and stumbling our way in living out the Gospel.
Mind you, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been a culture – rooted in the Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ – that we’ve sought to incubate and incarnate from the beginning of our church.
During the month of November, we challenged and invited the church to help us raise $50,000 over two Sundays to fund the vision of our church’s Justice & Compassion Care Center. The pastors and elders were so humbled and amazed by our church as we collectively gave $70,105.24.
Part of those funds was allocated to hire a Homeless Advocate & Case Manager to work with our Justice and Compassion Pastor and to identify an office space (outside of our small building space) and closer to the main streets of our larger neighborhood.
Something pretty crazy happened: A 2500 square feet office space was extended to us – for free – and to use for the purposes of living out our faith.
the gospel matters…
And so, we begin this week with the mini-renovation process of making the office spaces our own as we get ready to celebrate the open house of the Quest Justice & Compassion Center on the last Sunday of January.
If there are some encouragement I can extend to my readers, fellow pastors, and leaders:
- build the culture of biblical justice and compassion. and remember, it takes time
- cast the vision again and again – and again.
- don’t underestimate yourself, your leaders or your church – especially if you’re a small/medium sized church.
- loving your neighbors often means serving your neighborhood.
- don’t give up.
Regarding #5, the work of justice and compassion is well…in the long run…not very attractive or dare I say, “sexy.” For example, advocacy for the homeless or housing challenged community is a struggle and if we’re honest, it’s the blog post no one wants to read.
But…the gospel matters.
Update: Here’s an update of the Bridge Care Center (about 9 months post launching) and video: