The Power to Redeem Our Broken World
Sometimes our default is to look around us and see the glass as half empty. The world is filled with brokenness and it doesn’t look like things are getting much better. It can be downright depressing, am I right? When I first met Joseph Bataille from World Relief Haiti, he talked about a similar experience he had in Haiti. After years of working for international organizations that were there to “fix” Haiti’s problems, he looked around and all he saw was brokenness. Haiti will always be in the path of hurricanes, in the shadow of wealthier nations, and in the destructive cycle of disaster and material poverty. It was easy to see the cup as half empty, or even completely drained. But Joseph loved Haiti and loved being Haitian. He saw the beauty in this little half of an island in the middle of the Caribbean and began to wonder if many of Haiti’s problems were caused by seeing the glass as half empty. Shortly after this, he began working for World Relief Haiti.
Our friends at World Relief see the local church as Christ’s agent for change on the earth. They know that the world is broken, but they also believe that Jesus has the power to fix it. And they want to be a part of that work of restoration. It is their mission and vision to empower the local church to serve the needs of the vulnerable. Through the work of World Relief, Joseph began to see some of the broken parts of Haiti being put back together through the joint effort of local churches. Whether it was churches coming together to repair a leaky roof for a widow, or to rebuild seven kilometers of road damaged by flooding, or to address the endemic issue of broken marriages in the Haitian church through a training called Families for Life; the church was using the gifts the Lord had blessed it with to see lasting change! In fact, the Church Empowerment Zone (CEZ) that we are a part of in Pichon has been so successful that surrounding regions have asked to start their own CEZs. There are now 143 churches with 341 volunteers directly serving 21,196 people through the empowerment of World Relief Haiti. The cup isn’t just half full, it’s overflowing!
As I considered this small shift in perspective that made all the difference for Joseph, I started thinking about what it would look like to apply that outlook to our own community. I am not looking at the world through a rose-colored lens. The world is broken, and Gig Harbor is broken. In fact, our Missions department defines poverty as the result of broken relationships with God, self, others, and creation. We see these types of broken relationships right here in our own community. But what if, instead of looking at the brokenness in our community, we followed the example of our friends in Haiti and looked at how the Lord has gifted us to help heal what is broken for His kingdom and His glory? Our cup would overflow!
In anticipation of Joseph’s visit this weekend, the Chapel Hill Staff practiced a bit of this shift of perspective at our staff meeting. We listed ways in which our community exhibits broken relationships with God, ourselves, others, and creation. The list included things like no need for God, apathy, pride, addiction, isolation, economic disparity, traffic, invasive weeds. These are all examples of brokenness in our community. Then we each listed five-to-10 assets we had as individuals and as a congregation on post-it notes. These post-its listed things like an extra bedroom, a gift of hospitality, skills in teaching, the lay counseling ministry, personal finances, a sense of humor, a praying staff, a great facility for community events. These are examples of our assets. We took our post-its and tried to match the assets the Lord has given us with the needs of our community. What we saw is the way the Lord has gifted Chapel Hill Church and our people to serve the needs of the community. Where there is isolation, there are people with the gift of hospitality that can invite people into their homes. Where there are broken marriages, there are people gifted in marriage mentoring through Intimate Encounters. Where there is loneliness, there is a sense of humor. Where there are invasive weeds, there is the gift of physical labor and a weed whacker.
So here is my challenge to you, Chapel Hill: Consider how the Lord has gifted you. What assets has God given you? Then I want you to consider the needs of the community. How is Gig Harbor broken? Then I want you to do that all-important step of releasing your gifts and talents to the restorative work the Lord is doing in our community.
I think of two members of Chapel Hill who are gifted in helping people find jobs and saw there was no jobs program in our community to provide people looking for employment with encouragement, skills development, and networking opportunities. They used their asset to create a jobs program that meets weekly at the public library. They are helping restore brokenness with self and others, moving people closer to reconciliation and glorification of our great God. We all have abilities and assets that could alleviate brokenness just like this. What are your gifts? What are the community’s needs?
Yes, the world is broken. But we believe in a Savior who came to redeem that which is broken. The Message paraphrases Colossians 1:20 saying, “All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” Jesus Christ has done and is doing the work of reconciliation and He has invited us to be His representatives. Our cup isn’t half empty; it is filled to the brim and overflowing with the fullness of Christ! May we be a church that overflows into the community!
Director of Missions
A Special Message from Pastor Mark:
On Monday night at 5:30 pm, the Gig Harbor City Council will reconsider the issue of the Nativity Scene on city property. This is a wonderful opportunity for Christian citizens to express their thoughts in a polite, gracious, Christ-honoring way. I urge you to do so.