The Baptist Convention of New England is adding an English as a Second Language ministry support team. Leaders Maddy Miller and Pam Seremet will help local churches start viable ESL ministries by conducting trainings and providing resources.
“We serve our community because we love our community,” proclaimed the flyer from the new church in town. And in a matter of months they definitely gained a reputation for serving the community well. They painted a school, collected shoes for the homeless, picked up trash after community events and cut up trees that blew over in a storm. It was impressive. And three years later, their church disbanded. That was not so impressive.
Several years ago, as a missionary in Eastern Europe, I led a Bible study for Iranians in our apartment. Although they were Muslims, these men wanted to learn about Jesus. Once a week, we enjoyed refreshments and conversation before sitting down to study the Gospels. Gradually, our friendships deepened and their understanding about Jesus increased.
The Lord has been reminding me lately about the connection between our worship and our works. So often I have seen the church in general being inclined far more to worship and spiritual formation than good works. In the book of James, he chided the church for not having balance in stating, “…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17). We understand throughout all Scripture God’s directive for all to love Him is displayed in how we love others.