So that we can bless Canada in the name of Jesus
One of the things I enjoy when reading Faith Today are the many stories and news items about Evangelicals creatively engaging with their neighbours and their communities, both in Canada and globally.
They see a need and, out of their love for God and following His command to love our neighbours, they engage.
As I travel the country I meet people and worship in churches reaching into their communities in various ways. Some of the outreach I see appears similar to what other churches are doing, and yet each is distinct – shaped by the needs the outreach is responding to and the capacity of those responding.
That’s remarkable in a highly secularized culture where religion is pushed to the margins and increasing numbers of our neighbours prefer the exercise of our faith be restricted to our homes and places of worship.
Our culture is increasingly estranged from the Christian beliefs the majority once affirmed. Many people now subscribe to individual autonomy (some do it thoughtfully, others unconsciously). In this culture there is growing indifference and even hostility to beliefs that challenge that autonomy.
It’s tempting among those who believe in God to respond by withdrawing and keeping our heads low, and focusing only on what we can do to keep our faith from being extinguished.
The good news is this is not how many are responding. And of course such a withdrawal would not be following the way Jesus lived and what the gospel commands.
Ours is a faith that propels us outward, to love our neighbour and be witnesses in word and deed to the love God has shown us in the gift of His Son, in whom we have found redemption and reconciliation, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Among Canada’s Evangelicals are amazing stories of how people have impacted others and their communities. It’s important we continue to tell these stories as a confirmation of obedience and an encouragement of practice.
We can also take courage from stories of the early Christian Church, which faced persecution and opposition, and was misunderstood. Yet they persisted in loving others in their communities, as an expression of God’s love for them and their belief all people are created in His image, loved by Him and are of inestimable worth.
We too love our neighbours and care for them – particularly those on the margins and those who need care and protection. This demonstrates our worship of God and expresses our love for all He loves.
As followers of Jesus we have come to know and experience the truth, Jesus, and the amazing grace by which we were reconciled to God – and out of love and gratitude of course we share it with others.
Those followers who work together through The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada recently agreed to a new mission statement – "Uniting Evangelicals to bless Canada in the name of Jesus." This statement fits with how so many churches are finding creative and innovative ways of expressing this profound love to others, to bless our neighbours in the name of our Saviour and Lord, to be known by our love and commitment to follow in the way of Jesus.
And to increase the telling of these stories, this month the EFC is launching a French language magazine called Vivre Sa Foi that tells of people and church communities bearing witness to Jesus in what is arguably the most secular jurisdiction in North America. They too bear witness by caring for vulnerable people in ways unique to their contexts, and by becoming advocates and addressing the issues that bind and break so many.
May God give us courage and strength, wisdom and grace, as we reach into our communities as ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom, speaking truth into the issues of the day from the wisdom of the Scriptures with love and grace, and caring for vulnerable and hurting people with the love by which Jesus responded to us
Bruce J. Clemenger is President of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Please pray for our work and support us at www.TheEFC.ca/Donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362. Free copies of our new French magazine to hand out at your church can be ordered at www.FaithToday.ca/VivreSaFoi.