As we head into a new decade of Right Here Right Now, I am more confident than ever that God is calling us, his church, to lead the way in love, compassion, and service in our community.
One of my favorite stories in scripture is in Acts 3 when Peter and John encounter a man who had been lame since birth and was begging them for money. As they passed by this man, they didn’t just glance in his direction, Luke says they “directed their gaze” at him. The intentionality of this action speaks volumes. They chose to shift their focus from what was ahead of them to what was right in front of them.
Ten years ago, God called Christ’s Church to “direct our gaze” at our community in a more intentional and purposeful way. We began looking at the challenges of those around us and understanding that not only were the physical needs an issue but the spiritual ones as well. We wanted to meet financial needs, but even more than that, we wanted people to know Jesus.
In September of 2010, we cast a vision for our church of intentional love and life-changing compassion. We asked the people of Christ’s Church to listen to the stories of those in your sphere of influence and to pay close attention to their needs and crises. We asked you to let us know about these needs so we could begin to meet them together, and we asked you to begin to give $1 every Sunday above your regular tithe. We didn’t know what the response would be or how it would be received, but we knew where God was leading us and we trusted his direction.
Over the last decade, I’ve had the honor of having a front-row seat to the ministry of Right Here Right Now and I am constantly blown away at all God has done and continues to do. Through the relief work following multiple tornadoes, countless medical bills paid for those who couldn’t afford crucial treatments, rent and mortgage payments made for families on the verge of eviction, cars purchased so that people could get to and from work and not lose their jobs, and a long list of other things, God has continually used this church to remind us and our community of his faithfulness and provision. We’ve seen foster parents request funds for their kids’ biological families, teachers ask for assistance for their undocumented students, estranged family members advocate for their loved ones in an effort to reconcile, and so much more. The Kingdom’s definition of compassion is not and has never been limited to those who look, think, and act like us. It calls us to look into the eyes of those God has placed around us, and to not see a stranger, but to see Jesus.
As we head into a new decade of Right Here Right Now, I am more confident than ever that God is calling us, his church, to lead the way in love, compassion, and service in our community. Let us strive to focus our attention not on political division, social media slandering, or selfishness of any kind, but let us fight with all we have to set our eyes on Jesus, and as a result of that, direct our gaze at this beautiful community we have the honor of serving. It’s been an incredible ten years, but we’re just getting started.