St. Helens Baptist Church is a small, community-centered church in the state of Oregon. Our commission is to love the people in our community (our “Jerusalem”) and let that love trickle ever outward into the entire world.
One way churches show love is by reaching out to lost souls. After all, Jesus asked, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
However, the initial goal of the Love Works in our community isn’t soul-winning. It’s a way to get our names and faces out there in our community. To show them we are people who care about other people – including them.
Other churches and ministries use this Love Works initiative in other way.
For example, Point Loma Nazarene University takes annual missionary trips under the name and banner of Love Works. Read more about their efforts here. This is a perfect example of showing love by working to meet the basic needs of others.
One place where our church initially found the idea was from Central Peninsula Church. They use small and large activities to support the needs of their community. They aren’t looking to grow their congregation. Instead, as they say on their page, they are trying to “be the hands and feet” of the body of Christ.
Rockford First, a church in Rockford, Illinois, uses the phraseology Love Works as an umbrella for no less than fourteen separate ministries. Most of these are for their local community, but a few stretch to mission fields elsewhere in the world.
Obviously, they’ve found that true love is more than words. They reach out to their community and other communities around the globe with the unconditional love of Christ.
Christ showed us that love meets the physical needs of people. His ministry was as much about healing sickness and feeding hungry multitudes as it was about preaching the Gospel. Why? Because as our Creator, he understood the hierarchy of human needs. Until our physical needs are met, we can’t even fathom having greater, more eternal needs.
No matter how small your deed of love, it is not insignificant. To the person you are loving, it could be the difference between hunger and starvation, life and death.
The love of God works to win people when it first works serving them.