“Reach local, Change lives” is more than a catchy phrase; it describes the essence of everything that we are all about.
The Christian faith has always been an evangelical faith. It has always been a mission faith. The reach-nature of God’s plan for the world is throughout scripture. In the garden, God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” God promised Abraham that he would one day be blessed to be a blessing to all nations. Jesus’ ministry was a creative cycle of gathering and sending. Whether it was the sending of the seventy or the healing of a blind man, Jesus’ instruction was to go and tell what they had witnessed. Some of Jesus’ final words include a command to make disciples and extend the reach of the movement He started. The first followers of The Way very quickly multiplied in number as “thousands were added to their number” (Acts 2:41).
When we say “reach” we mean reaching out to those around us. We bear witness to the reality that God loves us and God wants to relate to us and bring about wholeness in our lives. God has reached out to us and so we reach out to others.
That is why we reach.
We reach out locally because we believe this is at the very heart of the gospel. The gospel is a radical acceptance of who we are. The gospel doesn’t require you to change your language or your culture. It doesn’t demand you become someone you are not. God himself radically accepted who we are by becoming one of us through Jesus. The incarnation – God becoming a man – is history’s most radically local act! If this is the good news we are sharing, we believe the means must match the ends. Paul exhorts us to be all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:22). InFaith does not have a national mode of ministry. You don’t join InFaith and learn a method and go out and do it. Instead our people bring their unique gifts and call from God and apply them in their unique communities across the country.
When we say “local” we mean right where we live. We reach in our own local areas and in our own local ways. God became local for us, we become local for others.
That is why we are local.
While the gospel certainly accepts us as we are, it also calls us to radical transformation. The gospel points out our sin and unbelief. The gospel reveals where we hate and do not love. It shows us death all around by showing God’s vision for life. It calls us to change. We are a group of people who want to be a part of God’s change in others even as God is constantly changing us. We call people to conversion and disciple them in their walk of faith. We visit the prisoner and the widow. We clothe the naked and feed the hungry. We participate in God’s work in our local communities to bring about God’s vision for “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).
When we say “change” we mean God’s call to conversion. We reach local to bring about the change God has been working since the beginning. God wants us to change and we want to change, too.
That is why we change.
We reach local to change lives because people are primary. When God decided to make men and women uniquely in His image, He communicated His special concern for our lives. When Jesus died on the cross, He did it for you and me. God loves people and so do we; that is why we exist. People are messy and life is hard, but our work is to get in the middle of that hard mess and walk alongside others. Telling them that God loves them, teaching them what it looks like to follow Jesus, and working together to bring about God’s love in our neighborhoods, cities, and our nation.
When we say “lives” we mean people. God loves everyone and wants to see each and every person in right relationship with Himself and others. We want to be a part of that.
That is why we live.