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What We Have Learned: Get the Message Out

January 24, 2011

From time to time people ask about what we have learned about community impact from doing what we do. For the next few weeks I plan on sharing some of what we have discovered these past six plus years of trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

What do you do think about this verse? I think at times churches don’t share what they are doing because of what the passage says.

Jesus does warn that if we do our good deeds for selfish reasons and the admiration of others that admiration is all we will receive. On the other hand if we do our good deeds in secret for selfless reasons God will reward us. I agree with the text but I don’t think that means we say nothing, we instead need to watch our motives.

But I believe it is imperative that we get the word out that the church helps people in need. The world needs to see the God’s people actively being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. For to long we have been known for everything but loving our neighbor. Often times the church is known more for what it is against for. The church in America stands for holiness which is important but it is only half of the two greatest commands. We show we love God by living holy lives, no doubt, but we also must show we love our neighbor or we miss part of God’s nature and what is just as important.

It also helps inspire other churches. When a church sees another in the community helping people in need it often leads to others doing the same. There should be no competition among believers. God receives all the glory. The more churches involved in community impact ministry in a given community the better, the stronger the statement about the nature of God.

When we first started doing out big Back to School day it was big news. TV crews from several Tulsa news stations would show up to do reports. This past year no TV crews came, the first time in many years, and that it is a good thing. It means that because of believers all over the Tulsa area this event isn’t seen as anything special. Many churches have stepped up to help children in need.

We must be careful. It is too easy to fall into the trap that Jesus warns against, doing good deeds to promote ourselves. But I don’t think that should keep us from getting the word out for two reasons. To make a statement to the world, be that light shining on a hill, and to inspire other believers and churches to do the same.

We try to send out press releases to local papers and with big events to TV and radio. Get the message out.

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