The Existence of the Church: A Hope to the Hopeless

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Rev. Aftab Yunis Hakim

MISSIOLOGICAL THINKING(MT)

We live in a world where people have negative attitudes toward their current crises. In this situation, some of them rely on things that seem feasible to them. Others get easily upset when they face economic challenges. This also happened during the Coronavirus pandemic, many people's lives were devastated in many places. People closed their businesses, and some were laid off as a result of downsizing, etc. As a result, considering the above crises, the purpose of writing this piece is to present hope about the current situation. And the whole prospect is proposed by looking at the importance and role of the Church from the Bible to heal the disappointed world.

I am a priest of a small congregation in a rural area where the majority of the members are factory workers. There are 35 to 40 families who have been living in this area for nearly five decades. The majority of the area is deficient in providing adequate educational facilities. Though the situation is not up to standard, still they are optimistic that better times will come and that they will be able to provide adequate educational opportunities to their children.

Due to this pandemic's impact, people in this area were also going through a deep economic crisis. Many were fired due to fear of the Coronavirus, and many more were dismissed from their jobs' responsibilities due to the firm's or factory's economic instability. This pandemic, which disappointed the entire area at the time, devastated the entire phenomenon of this village. Nonetheless, the church in this time of great misery never focused on the entire disappointing situation of the surroundings but rather held tightly to the Lord's promises. And after much prayer and fasting the community decided to use the biblical pattern to uplift the church at this time. As a result of being strategic to follow the pattern of the Bible, people understood what it meant to be the body of Christ that when one organ requires assistance from another, it lifts the other, and each organ plays a unique role in the overall body's strength.

Thus, in order to get out of this difficult phase, people started collecting church tithes to help needy people. We have decided that if anyone needs help, the family should approach the church elders, and the necessary funds will be distributed to the needy family after consultation with the pastor. And the church would assist those in need without discrimination or judging anyone's case. As this is in between God and the needy family, and no one would judge anyone's case. As a result, the church was encouraged by this biblical strategy because they realized how much God loves them and wants them to love their neighbors as themselves. Aside from that, the community of believers recognized the significance of applied faith in their lives, as well as their commitment to love one another being body of Christ. It is also worth noting that the community understood how God works through the church to demonstrate her existence on earth that is for the benefit of others.

A time came in the church's life when it was decided to expand her space by demolishing the old building. The reason behind this expansion was to accommodate the entire family of the church as it was too small for the congregation to sit in one place at a time. Many offers had come in, with many people offering their own models of collecting funds from outside resources. The budget to cover all the costs was around $25000. Of course, this was an impossible task for the community wherein the average salary of the head of the family is less than $100. However, the church decided to seek God's face and rely on God's providence. The old building was demolished while keeping the Lord's promises in mind, remembering that this church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the founder and provider of all our needs, and He would meet all our needs according to the riches of His glory. Because there was no church building to worship in after the building was demolished, people opened their homes for Sunday services. And, by God's grace, the entire structure was built within six months. This Praxis of re-constructing the church brought hope to the disappointed surrounding.

Now, this community hopes to empower other communities so that others could also see the importance and role of the church. And they are hopeful that as God works in their location, He would be able to work in other areas too so that people could see the glory of God beyond church premises. Therefore, this convinced hope in a desperate situation allows the church to heal the broken world wherein goodness and mercy of the Lord prevail.

The Bible depicts believers gathered in a room praying and waiting for the Lord's promise to be fulfilled prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And, after Pentecost, something so powerful happened in the lives of believers that they began to help their surroundings by selling their properties in order to help other believers by being a helping community so that no one remains poor in the community of believers (Acts2:45). Along with this, this Christ-centered community had devoted themselves to the Apostles' teachings, fellowship, breaking of the bread, and prayer. These four disciplines were pivotal for the church to be Christ-like in order to follow the fifth rule of life to get rid of the community's economic instability (Acts 4:34).

Even in the face of adversity, the Church, being Christ's image, does not become powerless. The Church finds solace in Christ's promise: "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father, has been pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Despite the fact that the people were fearful of economic depravity, the church held out hope that she would not forget Christ's great proclamation in the midst of this enormous sorrow. It is important to remember the primary responsibility of the church is to be ready for service and to keep its lamps lit. This 'serving strategy opportunity' allows the church to do the work of God by demonstrating good deeds that bring glory to God's name.

The need to perform this duty is based on the first four principles of the early Church in order to exercise the fifth, as the early church did by nurturing the Apostolic teachings; similarly, today the church can imprint the Lord's promises from the Bible in order to perform this duty. The Church has heavy responsibility on her shoulder to bring hope to the hopeless world. And in this regard, the Word of God is important in developing a liberation model to eliminate hunger and poverty; the threats of evil that are present at every turn in the Church's surroundings. It is critical to remember that the challenges will not be limited to changing the economic situation; rather, anything to restore the broken world will be considered.

The second principle is the importance of fellowship. The fellowship is such an important step in seeing God's wonders because it teaches believers that whatever they bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever they loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). This is the power of believers' fellowship that breaks the bonds of oppression, marginalization, injustice, and so on. This gives hope because the Lord desires to deliver the world from every evil system so that His people on earth can proclaim and exercise His authority over it.

It is crucial to remember that the breaking of bread is essential for the unity of mind and spirit; otherwise, this community can easily turn to revolutionaries rather than revivalists. In this case, the believers do not celebrate communion solely to remember the Lord, though the Lord instructed them to do so (Luke 22:19), but also to have humble attitudes toward serving one another as Christ did with His disciples, so that people will know they are Christ's disciples (John 13). And the church is evidence of such a kingdom, which humbly and gently invites people to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

The fourth principle suffices for the Church to implement all of the presented principles through fervent prayer in order to eliminate every systemic sin and make this place a better place to live.

The Church's ability to perform these disciplines cannot be perfected unless the fifth principle is followed. The fifth comes to share all of our resources with the entire Church family so that the entire body of Christ can be well-fed. And each organ of the body supports the others, allowing the entire body of Christ to flourish. It is worth noting that the four practices listed above are important for 'faith development' in the Church's life; while the prospect of this does not end there; rather, 'exercising this faith' is critical to demonstrating God's reign. So that the community's healing Praxis liberates it from every aspect of physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual enslavement in order to become the world's healing community.

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