Why Christians need to stand in the gapChristine Van Wyk
I joined the Common Good team early in 2018 and when I joined this team we spent some time on a resource that was developed for leaders in our community- something to help define and also dream about how we can (and already do) team together in bridging the gap between the local church and the organisation.
In doing this, we roped in Richard Lundie, an elder from our congregation in Wynberg, to flesh out some of the theology around volunteerism. We’re not an organisation that calls you to volunteer because it’s a “good” thing to do or because the act of giving of your time will “make you a better person” – we call you to volunteerism because we believe it glorifies our God- 1 Peter 2:12 says that we should,
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
As an organisation, we’re hoping to create varied and meaningful opportunities for people who consider themselves Christ followers to engage with inequality- not just when their doorbell rings but in a more intentional way- I’d be really excited to see more people seeking out spaces where they can be a part of levelling playing fields and making an impact in the name of Jesus. In this hope, I thought I’d share 2 sections from that leaders resource. I really hope they call you to more, inspire you to stand in the gap and even realise your God-given potential to make a difference.
Why is volunteering important for a Christ-follower?
The mission of Common Good is to create opportunities for people to realise their full God-given potential by:
1) Addressing injustices in early life, education and employment that impede the development of marginalized people; and
2) Inspiring, mobilizing and equipping church communities to engage with and respond to injustices that perpetuate inequality and human suffering.
One of the ways we get to do this practically is by creating volunteering opportunities where you get to give of your time to deepen the impact of Common Good’s Early life, Education and Employment (EEE) initiatives and serve the needs of your local neighbourhoods & communities.
We also believe that volunteering provides an opportunity for you to experience personal transformation as you are exposed to and engage with the legacies of poverty and injustice in our city. The bible tells us clearly what the Lord requires of us… “to ACT justly, LOVE mercy and WALK humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). Volunteering provides a way for us to turn love into action.
At Common Good we offer a diverse range of volunteer opportunities – including options within our EEE initiatives and Social Justice Ministries as well as other programmes run by Common Grounders and partner organisations. Please browse our website for up to date information on current volunteering opportunities and how to sign up to be a volunteer.
What does the bible say about Volunteering?
The mission of Common Ground Church is to fill the city with the message, life and fame of Jesus.
- We do this by going: beyond the walls of our church and the friendship circles we have to a city that does not know him yet (Acts 1:8);
- we do this by being: demonstrating the redeeming work of Christ in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23)
- and we do this by doing: we out-love and out-serve people, pointing them to the hope that we have in Christ (1 Peter 2:12).
Serving and volunteering in different gospel-rooted justice initiatives is an opportunity
for us to go, to be and to do.
The early church served in different ways
As we look through how the early church worked, we see volunteering and serving all over.
- We see generosity – followers selling their possessions and distributing the proceeds among those who had need (Acts 2:45; 4:32-37)
- We see people taking the time and energy to bring the sick and those with unclean spirits to the apostles (5:16)
- We see specialised service – Acts 6 tells of how people full of the Spirit and wisdom were appointed to oversee the distribution of food to widows.
- We see hospitality. A man called Judas hosted Saul just after his conversion, when no one else would do so (9:10-19); Simon hosted Peter in Acts 10:6; Lydia hosted a missionary group (16:15).
- We see service in charity, with a woman called Tabitha who was “full of good works and acts of charity” (10:36)
Jesus is on mission to reach people across this planet with his good news. And his chosen vehicle to do that is The Church – every Christ-follower. Not just the ‘experts’ who are vocationally involved with ministry, but every single person who claims allegiance to him. Every Christ-follower has something to bring and contribute to this mission. This is an incredible opportunity to utilise what he has gifted to us all. In varying proportions, we have time to give, we have talents (experience, education and connections) and treasures (financial means and intangible means). Every one of us has resource in some way that can be used for His glory. Serving His purposes by using what he has entrusted to us means that we take what will ultimately disappear, and investing them in eternal purposes that moth and rust cannot destroy.
As we serve and volunteer to continue the work of Jesus, to see the work of the devil destroyed (1 John 3:8). God is already working across Cape Town and is beckoning his followers to join in with His work. As we join together in this good work, we will indeed see the city being filled with the Life, Message and Fame of Jesus.
If you’re interested in the full resource, you can find it here.