Motivation for Care
The simple act of caring is heroic. - Actor Edward Albert
We are all in need of care because we all live in a broken world. All of us could agree that we are fractured to some degree spiritually, emotional, mentally and physically. Although we all are capable of caring for others, Christians are especially motivated. This is because every Christian is a recipient of God’s special care.
Christians understand that we were once spiritually impoverished without the ability to help ourselves out of it. But God so cared for us that He came to us in the person of His Son Jesus. He was broken so that all who believe in him could be restored, partially now and perfectly later. We did nothing to deserve such care. We simply received his mercy.
This is why every Christian is called to turn outward, to love as we’ve been loved. To care for others the way God cared for us. This calling is clear throughout the whole story of the Bible, from the formation of God’s people 4000 years ago, through the wisdom literature, the prophets, the life of Jesus, the early church and the letters the followed.
We want to be a church that lives out that calling well, to care well for those in our church congregation as well as neighbors in our community. This is a model that will provide:
- Direction and training for those wanting to show care.
- Resources and next steps for those wanting to receive care.
This is NOT a comprehensive model for how to serve at UPC. It is limited to how we care for people in need. It is also NOT meant to be a comprehensive model for how we do evangelism or discipleship, even though these will overlap.
Mercy, Evangelism and Discipleship: Jesus didn’t care for people’s physical needs as an end in itself. He knew it was better to go to heaven blind than hell with both eyes (Matthew 5:29). The gospel went out in word and deed. His ministry of mercy drew many of the crowds to hear his ministry of word. It also showed his disciples that the Kingdom of God had arrived and taught them what it looks like to live at a disciple in that Kingdom. Mercy is not only one of our greatest callings as a believer, it is one of our greatest apologetics in the culture. Our hope is that any demonstration of care for others will lead to an opportunity to share of the hope in Christ with others. This continues into our desire to see them move towards maturity in Christ, which is our primary commission to make disciples. Practically speaking then, this means we hope to care in a way that leads people to be more connected to ongoing ministries and relationships where they can have ongoing physical and spiritual needs met.
Model for Care
The way we care for others matters. It reflects our values as Christians. God is of supreme value and is knowable, so we are always hoping that others come to know him through our caring. God cared for us through the life of His Son Jesus, so we value caring for others through relationships over programs. We know that we are most cared for when we are in community with others, so we are always trying to help people get connected.
In other words, we want to always care for others in a way that helps move them deeper, more connected to believers, ministries, the church body and a relationship with Christ.
Here are two visuals of this model: