Multi-Ethnic Church : Community Care

Since the church is based on New Testament distinctives, it would be expected that the church would care for the community. However, very few churches are known for caring for the community. It is surprising that every ethnicity has few churches that do community care.

“Four out of five young churchgoers say that Christianity is antihomosexual; half describe it as judgmental, too involved in politics, hypocritical, and confusing; one-third believe their faith is old fashioned and out of touch with reality; and one-quarter of young Christians believe it is boring and insensitive to others. (Un Churched : Pg 33)”

SO WHAT?       

If the above view is of the young churchgoers, imagine how worse the view of non-churched people is? The only way to correct the view of the church is to begin caring for the community in a way that people will realize the church is important, sensitive, relevant and a place of care. This is of the utmost importance to most ethnic people groups. As we mentioned before ethnic peoples are of communal ideology, and community is the way to prove the churches worth. 

How do we do this? –

I can’t give a better illustration of how to care for the community than to tell you about Charles Spurgeon’s church in England. For those who may not be familiar with Charles Spurgeon or his church, I’d like to use an excerpt from Darrin Patrick’s book – For the City.

The Industrial Revolution began in the Great Britain in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and by the 1850s its effects were well known in England. In this period of great industrialization people left the  farms and small towns and flocked to London, Manchester, and other cities. As people congregated in vast numbers, the old infrastructure of London lacked the capacity and resources to attend to the needs of the new crowds. The influx of people into London meant not only a spike in laborers and factories, but also the number of under-resourced women, children, orphans, and widows exploded in London. The city was in crisis. The leaders didn’t know what to do. They saw the mountain of needs that confronted them from every angle. Thus, in the 1850s a lot of London churches did what a lot of American churches have done during the last thirty years: they fled the cities. These churches moved their locations to the outskirts of London. But Metropolitan Tabernacle, pastored by Charles Spurgeon, decided, “We’re not going to do that. We’re going to stay here. We see this as an opportunity for the gospel” – Spurgeon.

Metropolitan Tabernacle looked at the needs of the people in the city and began to engage in helping them with their problems. The problems of the desperately poor were the most pressing, so Metropolitan Tabernacle leaders created almshouses for people who lost their jobs and needed time to get back on their feet. The poorhouses in London operated in terrible conditions, but the almshouses of Metropolitan Tabernacle provided a crucial alternative. The

church also built a large number of homes for the elderly where they would care for them and help them die with dignity and in peace. The church created an orphanage where they educated, cared for, and fed thousands of orphans. They created homes for single mothers who had lost their husbands and helped them find employment. Metropolitan Tabernacle started a school for pastors from rural areas to receive a theological education and helped clothe and provide books for these impoverished pastors. They started programs for businessmen to use their entrepreneurial efforts to expand the kingdom through their businesses.

Metropolitan Tabernacle’s influence spread so quickly throughout the poor and all the way up the class ladder to the aristocracy. It got to the point that if Metropolitan Tabernacle had shut down at any point during that decade of grappling with the problems of the Industrial Revolution, the city of London would have been crippled. They would have grieved the loss of the Tabernacle. - Patrick, Darrin, For the City: Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

What a great testimony of how a church should respond. If you’re curious like I was, I’ll ask the pertinent question. If they were that involved with the community, did they slack on the Biblical doctrine, or on the Preaching? Clearly not! Spurgeon is one of the greatest preachers to have ever walked this earth. His teaching was sound, and convicting. It was because of his teaching that the people cared for their neighbors. The teaching of caring for neighbors, led the believers to cross the socio-economic and even ethnic barriers. It was said that on any given Sunday, “you could see a Lord sitting next to a beggar, but worshiping the same Lord [God].”
  • So what does your preaching compel your church members to do?
  • If your church were to close its doors tomorrow what would happen?
    • Would the community breath a sigh of relief that your finally gone?
    • Would the community mourn and wonder where care and provision will come from?

Friends, I’d like to remind you, it is not the Governments job to care for the Poor, Widows, Orphans, and Aliens (illegals). Rise to the calling of being the church. Preach through Leviticus 19-22, Mathew 5, James 1-2. 

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