Is there a biblical basis for “Reach Local”?
In fact, the Bible is peppered with this idea of reaching locally!
Consider the very first action in the Bible. After creating the cosmos – where God carved out the oceans and formed the mountains and put together the laws of physics that would govern everything and established the sun that would provide the energy to keep the earth going – He culminates his grand global creation by establishing the first residents in a particular garden. These two first people are charged with tending to their neighborhood. The get to know their neighbors and give them names. They enjoy the beauty of their surroundings. They revel in their locality. And this is just as God wanted me to be…
We read further in the story and we find a struggling place. The first residents rebelled. They were forced out of the neighborhood. The world is a mess. God chooses to execute his master plan of salvation through local acts that bring radical change to the entire world.
First, he partners with an elderly, barren couple named Abraham and Sarah. Eventually this family becomes a nation. God helps the nation establish its place in the world. God gives them laws of justice and mercy to help them live rightly in their location. The nation is established to be a blessing to all other nations. This isn’t supposed to happen through global expansion, but through local expressions of justice and mercy. The Old Testament laws are generous to the foreigner and sojourner. Israel’s eventual demise is caused in part because they didn’t care for those around them. Right in their own backyards, they sold poor people for a measly pair of sandals and they denied justice to the oppressed in their midst (Amos 2:6-7).
Christ’s coming was to a particular place and time where he became of a particular place and time. Jesus took the long way around and came as a baby in order to be fully one of us. He grew up in the culture, spoke the language, and knew the customs. He used this in his ministry. His teaching was local. He used local images and local ideas to communicate to a local people. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid for the sins of the world – past, present and future. But he still died on a first-century Roman cross in Palestine.
The global expansion of Christianity was rooted in Jesus’ work in a local place. He didn’t travel very far throughout His life. He stayed in the small region He was from. The work of Jesus and the disciples came before and enabled the gospel to spread to other areas of the globe.
InFaith completely believes in the need and call by God for the church to go to the ends of the earth. We celebrate those organizations that are committed to this. Many people are called to go and should go. But we also believe in the need and call by God for the church to stay right at home; to focus on our “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria” (Acts 1:8). Many people are called to stay and should stay. We exist to enable people who see a need in their local area to be able to meet that need. We exist because we read the Bible and have been moved by the call to reach locally wherever we are. For our part, we are here, in our local communities, reaching out with the love of Jesus to those who need it most.
What about you? What if we saw more people ready to reach out to meet the needs they see around them? What if all you needed was a place where you could begin? Perhaps InFaith is just doing what you have been looking for. Why not reach out and find out? That’s what I’m here for. I’m doing my part to reach local: helping men and women reach out in their local areas all across the U.S. Drop me a note with your idea for local ministry if you want to learn more!