by Jim Hill
This year Churchnet will begin our fifth year in a five-year emphasis on Share Hope. Our Share Hope emphasis grew out of our last strategy planning process called First Priority 2015. The emphasis seeks to encourage, equip, and assist churches as they mobilize their members to share the hope they have found in Christ through three broad strategies.
The first strategy is relational evangelism. This strategy seeks to equip believers to share their faith and the hope they find in a relationship with Christ through their normal everyday relationships. Our goal is to help churches equip and encourage Christians to share their faith with friends and neighbors. Most people come to know Christ because of the witness and sharing of a friend.
The second strategy is congregational ministry. This strategy seeks to help believers and congregations minister to human needs in their community. Our goal is to assist congregations as they serve and meet the needs of individuals and families in their communities. All of our communities are filled with hurting people, and we called and sent to care for “the least of these.”
The third strategy is community advocacy. This strategy seeks to assist believers and congregations as they address the systemic problems and work for justice in their communities. Our goal is support believers and congregations as they speak and act on behalf of the poor and marginalized in their communities in pursuit of justice for all people. It is not enough to feed the hungry. We must also address the systems that keep people trapped in poverty.
Every year I have had the opportunity to witness what God is doing through congregations in our state. I do not believe we have a greater gift to give than the hope we have found in Christ. It is not difficult to find people who are desperate for hope. The greater challenge is to link those in need with the gifts and resources God has placed in the church – the body of Christ.
Our Annual Gathering will be Friday evening and Saturday morning, April 11- 12, 2014, at First Baptist Church in Farmington, Missouri. Our theme will be Share Hope: The World is Waiting! I believe the world is waiting. The world is waiting for the people of God to live out our faith as we share our faith, minister to human need, and cry out for justice in our communities. Again this year we will have a series of Share Hope Workshops focused on helping individuals and congregations share the hope they have found in Christ. I hope you will hold the dates and plan to join us in Farmington.
We would also love to hear about what your church is doing to “share hope” in your community. I encourage you to send us the story of how God is using your congregation to make a difference in the lives of people in your community. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at (888) 420-2426. May God bless you as you share hope every day.
You can contact Jim Hill, Churcohnet’s Executive Direct, at (888) 420-2426 ext. 705 or at email@example.com