Bless the City
Two things that all Christians should regularly think about are The Great Commission and The Great Commandment of Jesus. In the Great Commission, Jesus gives Christians the command to make disciples of every nation, and this should be central to our lives as believers (Matthew 28:19). In the Great Commandment, Jesus reiterated the command of God from long ago that Christians should love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength; and that Christians should love their neighbors as they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
This means that the Christian life should be largely marked by outward-facing relationships and love. As Christians, we are called to love one another (John 13:34). However, as the Great Commandment makes it clear that we are also called to love our neighbors. The Greek word for neighbor is πλησίον. This is the same word that the lawyer uses when he asks Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), which leads into the parable of the Good Samaritan. In that parable, the Samaritan didn’t know the man who was beaten and stripped on the road. Not only that, the man on the road was actually the Samaritan’s political and racial enemy. Even still, the Samaritan showed lavish mercy to the vulnerable man. The Samaritan was full of love toward a stranger and enemy, and this is exactly what Jesus has called us to through the gospel.
At Christ Covenant we regularly talk about being a church that gathers and scatters well. When we gather we hope to worship God faithfully, encourage one another, and love one another well. When we scatter we want to be a people who represent Christ well and share our faith as faithful kingdom ambassadors. We want to make disciples and plant churches in Atlanta and beyond in our efforts to reach the world. We also want to be a people that do good works, pursue justice, and love the people of our community as we seek to bless the city in which we live. While we want our efforts to bless the city to ultimately lead to disciple-making opportunities, we also recognize that these opportunities don’t necessarily begin there. We want to be a church that gives of ourselves to do good for others in the name of Christ even when we aren’t verbally communicating his gospel.
4 ways that we seek to bless the city
1. Christian Partnerships
We want to be a church that partners with ministries throughout Atlanta that are doing good works and pursuing justice in the name of Jesus. We are honored to support these ministries by giving of our time and financial resources to see their impact grow. Some examples of these ministries are K-Life and City of Refuge. K-Life is a local ministry of Kanakuk Camps that seeks to disciple middle and high school students by pointing them to Jesus and teaching them to follow him. City of Refuge provides relief and skills training to the unemployed and homeless of our city while teaching them about what Christ has done. We arehonored to financially link arms with ministries like this and want to see more of our members regularly serving them in practical ways. Our list of local Christian partnerships has grown since our church began, and as our church grows and matures, we hope that it will continue to grow.
2. Non-Christian Partnerships
There are several strategic organizations that are not “Christian” by name that we want to partner with for good works, pursuit of justice, and neighborly love. For example, Sutton Middle School is a public school that is a strategic partner for us. Our desire is to be a blessing to their faculty, administration, and students in practical ways. Another example is the Shepherd Center. The Shepherd Center is a leader in the country and even the world in terms of rehabilitating people with severe brain or spinal injuries. There are so many practical ways that we can come alongside the Shepherd Center staff and patients to help them feel the love of Christ. These are just a couple examples of the kind of partnerships that we want to pursue as a church family.
3. Ministries that We Own
From time to time there will be real, practical needs in our community that no one has stepped up to meet. When these opportunities arise, we want to step up by starting and owning particular ministries that meet the presenting needs. Some examples of this are the Good News Club and School Ministries of Atlanta. While both Good News Club and School Ministries are national organizations, they have not connected with many of the schools in Atlanta who desperately need their services. In response to this, members of Christ Covenant have taken ownership of bringing these ministries to different schools in our area, and the Lord is doing great things through them. We want to continue to see this pattern of ownership as people pursue solutions that meet practical needs in our city.
4. Loving Our Neighbors As We Scatter
We do not want our church family to be good at serving with ministry partners, yet failing at being good neighbors. It does us no good to “love Sutton Middle School” through a church-wide event but then ignore the needs of the Sutton Middle 7th grade student that lives two doors down. We want to be a church family that seeks to love our neighbors (meaning, the people in our neighborhoods!), the people with whom we work, our family members, and our friends really well. We want to be people who seek practical and loving ways to meet the real needs around us with Christ-honoring love.
Every year at Christ Covenant we take a month to highlight practical ways that you can do good works, pursue justice, and love your neighbor. We call this emphasis Bless the City, and it is the perfect time to engage with different ministries and organiza- tions that Christ Covenant is seeking to strategically bless. Our ultimate hope is that you would regularly engage in serving with at least one of these organizations and that you would regularly seek to find ways that you can be a blessing throughout the year. To this end, there are a host of opportunities that we have planned. To determine which opportunity you would like to engage with, please go to our Events page at www.christcovenant.com/events and choose “Bless the City” in the event category drop-down. There you will find a list of opportunities to look through.
Jesus has called us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. As we seek to obey Him and to be like Him, let us pursue outward-facing relationships in love, and by doing so, let us Bless the City together.