While Jesus was on earth, He “mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’—The Ministry of Healing, p. 143. During His ministry, Jesus chose 12 men to be His disciples; He trained them, and gave them the assignment to go and be His witnesses. The disciples were to be workers together with Him to save men, women, boys, and girls. What an awesome responsibility! But it doesn’t stop there.
Jesus has asked us—you and me—to do the same and to continue the work as His modern-day disciples. He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”—Matthew 20:19, 20.
Jesus never said that the work He has asked us to do would be easy, but He promised to be with us every step of the way. He did not ask us to sit in the pews of the church and hope and pray that the people will come to us. The work of the Lord is two-dimensional—inreach and outreach. In the case of inreach, Scripture instructs, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near”—Hebrews 10:25, NLT.
Jesus provided us the example of interaction with our community. Consequently, we need to get out of our seats and move about our neighborhoods and wherever else He directs. As we meet people and find out what their needs are, we have opportunities to show them Jesus’ love, and to help to finish the work He has called us to do. The world is full of people who need to hear a message of hope and about a soon-coming Savior.
Thankfully, many churches and members in the Atlantic Union are endeavoring to reach out to do their part in finishing the work. They are busy ministering to the needs of those around them. We don’t often hear much about them, but they are there. You might be thinking, “That’s true. Our church does that,” or “That’s me. I do that.” The reality is that very often these people and groups are so involved in their ministry, they forget or don’t even think about sharing their stories so that others can be encouraged by their ministry and, perhaps, learn of other ways to become more involved.
As you read through this issue of the Gleaner, you will find a few stories about churches and members who are reaching out and making a difference in the lives of the people in their communities and beyond. I hope the stories inspire you and stir you to become more involved and to get your church more involved in your community. Perhaps, some of you will also be inspired to share your stories.
There is much to be done as we get closer to the coming of Christ. Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”—Matthew 24:14, NIV. What plan of action has your church taken to help this become a reality? Who are you and your church mingling with?
Ednor A. P. Davison is the editor of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and assistant to the president for communication in the Atlantic Union Conference.