2021 has been full of hardship for many in our communities. The challenges of the vulnerable and marginalized in our cities and towns have increased over the last two years. But even as the world becomes more difficult and darker for many, the light of Christ continues to shine brightly through the trusted presence of local churches.
These gospel outposts proclaim the excellencies of Christ, who calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). These communities of Christ-followers live out the biblical ethic of loving our neighbors and caring for the needy. And we do this out of love for Christ and his church. We help those in need because Christ has met our greatest need in himself.
As we celebrate Jesus’s birth this Christmas season, we exalt our heavenly Father for his extravagant love for us in sending his beloved Son to save us from our sins. And his love abides in us as we open our hearts to the needy. We love the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the sick, and the poor not “in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17–18). Our neighbors need hope and help this Christmas season, and local churches are divinely placed and purposed to meet this need with good news and great generosity. Click To Tweet
Our neighbors need hope and help this Christmas season, and local churches are divinely placed and purposed to meet this need with good news and great generosity. Be encouraged by these few examples of Acts 29 churches ministering to the vulnerable this Christmas.
Redemption City Church in Baltimore, Maryland partners with Salaam Center, a ministry that helps Afghan and other Arabic-speaking refugees. RCC hosted a Christmas party for over 100 men and women who gathered to receive presents for their families, share a meal, and hear the gospel. Members of a Korean church from Virginia led musical worship, and their pastor preached as a translator communicated the gospel in Arabic.
Free Grace Church in Fresno, California is collecting a year-end special offering to support families in Haiti that are still homeless from the earthquake earlier this year. They partner with a group involved in church planting, pastoral training, and community development. They can build a small house for a family for $3,500. Thousands of families are being served through these efforts.
Grace Bible Church in Bend, Oregon serves their community by adopting families in need in partnership with a local food bank. Each family is blessed with an amazing Christmas, thanks to the generosity of these saints.
Rooted Church in Joplin, Missouri collaborates with about 50 other churches to serve Crosslines, a local parachurch ministry. Together, they’re providing food and clothing to about 1,500 people each month facing a financial crisis.
King’s Cross Church in Defiance, Ohio is doing a church-wide generosity drive called “Refugee Christmas” to raise money to assist the needs of Syrian Refugee house churches in Lebanon. This is in partnership with an Acts 29 church in Poland.
The Commons LA in Los Angeles, California partners with the largest group home in Los Angeles to mentor foster kids without a placement. One activity they’ve planned for Christmas is a cookie decorating party at the group home. The kingdom of God is near, and never more so than when the people of God image his compassion for the vulnerable. Click To Tweet
Taproot Church in Twin Falls, Idaho is partnering with another local church to hand out 1,800 boxes of food per week, from the week of Thanksgiving through the end of the year. The food is provided through a program called “Farmers Feeding Families.”
Soma Eastside Church in Issaquah, Washington serves at-risk students in their community by providing scholarships to attend a private school. Their generosity is making a big difference in the lives of these students.
The District Church in Jacksonville, Florida gifted all the single moms in their church with some help for the holidays. They’re also dedicating their Christmas Eve offering to help plant a church in Russia.
Encounter Christian Church in Bellflower, California has organized a Christmas store in partnership with two other churches to bless families in the Bellflower Unified School District. Parents can purchase presents for their children at very low prices. The parents of over 800 students in this city have signed up to shop at the Christmas store and will also receive Bibles, food, and cleaning supplies.
Local churches matter. Their presence is good for their communities. And God is glorified when churches work together with people of goodwill to bring the thrilling hope of the gospel so the weary world may rejoice.
The kingdom of God is near, and never more so than when the people of God image his compassion for the vulnerable. As a diverse, global community of healthy, multiplying churches, may we stir up one another to love and good works as we celebrate Christ, whose kingdom knows no end!