Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.

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Rebecca Manley Pippert illustrates the importance of being both word and deed people:

One of the cries we hear in our modern culture is the search for family, for a community, especially with the isolating, fragmentary nature of modern life. The longing for community arises out of a search for connectedness with God, with others and even with nature. The modern sense of being disconnected due to isolation, loneliness, broken relationships or simply the frenetic pace of modern life creates a profound longing for integration and a longing for a sense of place.

Alan Roxburgh asks the penetrating question, “Where are the resources for building communities of Christian witness in a culture where life is profoundly alienating?” He answers this in part by examining the work of historian E. R. Dodds, who addresses the fascinating subject of why Christianity, a small movement among a plethora of Eastern mystery cults, should come to triumph. Dodd believed it was due to the fact that Christian congregations were bound together by a common life. They early church was a “context of hope, care and inclusion for widows, orphans, broken and destitute people in Roman society.”

The need for community hasn’t changed. In an interview in Leadership Journal Pastor Mark Lauterbach describes many touching and positive experiences he has had as a pastor seeking to be a witness to his community. However, he tells of one experience he and his wife had with a woman who had come to do housework. She came from a terribly dysfunctional family and was studying different religions to see what she would believe. Mark had long discussions with her about the gospel, and she talked at length to Mark’s wife. But in the end, much to their distress, she chose to become a Mormon.

As Mark probed to understand why, it became evident that she didn’t understand much of Mormon theology. What drew her to Mormonism was their sense of family. She was lonely and searching for community, and she felt they loved her. Lauterbach astutely points out, “Our approach of assaulting her with truth was wrong. We should have taken her into our home.”

As an evangelizing church, we need to ask ourselves: Who are the poor and destitute, the widows and the orphans in our midst? How do we offer them the love and hope of Christ as a Christian community? (Out of the Saltshaker & into the World: Evangelism As a Way of Life, 248-249)


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