What would our world look like if we heard more inspiring stories of people caring about other people? Instead, we often hear horrific stories in the news that may compel us to compassion and action but, to be honest, I sometimes find myself numbed by information overload, my compassion competed for by many good causes.
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”1
This scripture verse has inspired me a lot in recent years. Does the world know what God’s Kingdom looks like? What if we could paint a picture for a violent, hurting and broken world about what heaven looks like? What if we could BE that picture?
I still remember vividly during my first two years with OM 24 years ago, when a street kid in Montréal said to us: “If God is like a father, I don’t want anything to do with him!” Our life experiences determine our picture of God and one another.
At that time, God gave me my mission statement: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”2 Perhaps people don’t need to hear the gospel as much as they need to see and experience it.
I love our new OM mission statement: “We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.” How can we BE a vibrant community, full of life, emotionally and spiritually healthy, resilient and fruitful in ministry? I think it has a lot to do with developing a people care culture, namely: loving and valuing people with grace and integrity (an OM core value).
Come, look with me…
Vibrant communities have developed a people care culture; as a result:
• People are generally happy; there is life and fun despite challenges.
• People are sociable and highly motivated, with a clear sense of belonging and self-worth; they will go the extra mile.
• People esteem, encourage and support each other. They are Jesus-centred, not self-centred.
• People feel safe to share what they think and feel. Feedback is encouraged and valued.
• Having a non-judgmental attitude, people believe the best about one another, but also speak truth with grace in love. Conflicts are managed in ways that express this.
• People have healthy margins to help manage stress and avoid burnout.
• The team has a positive reputation, a fruitful ministry and is valued in the community they serve; people that have left the team speak highly of it.
Would you not want to be part of such a community? Achieving that takes effort and the Holy Spirit to move in and through us. “Then the world will know…”3 Instead of reaching people for Christ, let us draw them to Him when they see what community life in Him can be like, despite the challenges it also brings.
1. Matt. 6:10, NIV
2. John 13:35, NIV
3. John 17:33, NIV
Marijke Kuo is OM’s International People Care Director. She trained in psychosocial counseling as part of a Social Work degree. Based in the UK, Marijke provides debriefing, counselling, training and coaching in particular to leaders and People Care staff to further develop people care in OM. She loves to inspire, challenge and impact people to be more connected with God, themselves and others.
Published: Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Credit: Marijke Kuo