I spent the last week visiting pastors, churches, and NGOs in the disaster area of Japan from the Great North East Triple Disaster that hit on March 11, 2011. Many of them launched social projects in partnership with their local communities which have resulted in breaking down the walls between church and society.
For years, locals viewed churches as cults and as foreign religious centers. But now, many view these pastors and ministry centers as agents of hope in society. For the most part, the churches, along with their NGOs, are the only one’s still doing the work of hope building in the disaster area. With 89,000 people still living in temporary housing and another 90,000 living in government buildings until their homes are rebuilt, you can imagine the needs that remain – even three and a half years after the tsunami!
Not long before this trip I was in a local church in Tokyo that was implementing a similar project with their local community. They started a community exercise and stretching center for young mothers in the neighborhood. One lady who was so moved by the collaboration came to this church to promote the new project. The interesting thing was that she wasn’t a believer in Christ. Yet, the hope given to her from this church family caused her to want to be involved.
She promoted the new center even though she was not a Christ follower. In fact, she went further to share that she hoped many would come to know Christ through this new outreach.
Imagine that, a non-believer telling a church how she hoped others would come to Jesus through a new program! To learn more, see her story here.
This inspired me. As we work in partnership with our local communities, people will see the light of Christ and be drawn to participate and even promote the work of God in our neighborhoods.
Do you have stories like this to share? I’d love to hear what you have experienced.
This post was first published here: http://www.evangelvision.com/an-odd-partnership-of-gospel-promotion/