This post is the thirteenth in a series on God’s Story, the Foundation for FH’s Work in Relief and Development. Follow the series, starting with the first post.
What does it look like for the Body of Christ to serve the local community? That’s a question that Pastor Yorng and his family asked themselves. Yorng is a Cambodian pastor serving Tropeang Prasat, a rural part of northern Cambodia. When Pastor Yorng and his family planted the church ten years ago, they were a house church with 15 believers meeting to pray and worship.
After the church had been meeting for a few years, Food for the Hungry (FH) facilitated a training for local pastors. There, Pastor Yorng learned about the role of the local church to serve the community. He began to dream about the ways his church could impact Tropeang Prasat.
Pastor Yorng led his church to raise funds for needy families in their Cambodian community.
The outward focus was a shift for Pastor Yorng. Rather than remaining concerned only about the welfare of brothers and sisters within the church, they began to look at how they could better the community. They planted flowers at the primary school and filled potholes on a busy local road. The church members took an offering for a needy family who did not know Christ. They even picked up trash at the local open air market.
Who is the Church?
When most people hear the word “church,” they think of buildings and worship services. But according to Scripture, the Church is the community of all people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “God placed all things under (Christ’s) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Much more than the buildings where we meet and the weekend services where we gather, the local church represents the “fullness of him”–the Body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.
When Pastor Yorng called his church to begin serving outside the confines of their own doors, he invited them to fully represent Christ. In fact, God’s plan is for the Body of Christ to spread the Good News of reconciliation that Jesus brings.
When most people hear the word “church,” they think of buildings and worship services. But according to Scripture, the Church is the community of all people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ.
Equipping the Body of Christ
God’s plan for each community is that a local church, or body of believers, would represent Christ to their neighbors. FH uniquely partners with local churches to equip them for this work. As Christian workers, we are part of our own local churches and also part of God’s universal Church. The calling of FH, to help the most vulnerable around the world, is carried out as an extension of the Church.
Therefore, FH never seeks to replace the local church. Instead, we partner with them. We help churches to discover their gifts and to step into ministry in their neighborhoods.
In Pastor Yorng’s community, FH held workshops to train church leaders in local ministry. Drawing from biblical models, they taught churches to initiate small development projects. That’s where Pastor Yorng got the idea to fill potholes, plant flowers, and assist needy families.
Pastor Yorng’s congregation continues to serve in their community through projects, such as by helping neighbors to build their homes.
Today, Pastor Yorng’s church has grown to a congregation of 170 people. They have planted three churches, all of which participate in local projects in their own communities. And Pastor Yorng has personally followed the call to help the most vulnerable. He and his wife recently welcomed two orphaned children into their family through adoption.
Has your church discovered your calling to be the hands and feet of Christ in your local and global community? Locally, look for small ways in which you could start to show God’s love in your neighborhood. Globally, consider partnering with FH as we equip local churches around the world to do the same!
Follow the God’s Story series:
The Story That Matters Most
How Clean Water Reveals the Kingdom of God
Transformation Is Better Than Development
“How” Is More Important Than “What”
History is About Reconciliation
God’s Character Matters
You Look Like Your Father
Peace and the Natural World
The Fall Changed Everything
Jesus at the Center
A Plan for Your Life
Learn to Serve Like Jesus