By Sharon Mager
BALTIMORE, Md.—“The darker the days, the brighter the hope,” said Colonial Baptist Church Pastor Robert Anderson in the aftermath of protests, riots and looting following the April 12th death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. As the dust settles in Baltimore, churches and community organizations now ponder how to respond.
People in and around Baltimore are stunned and they’re now looking for help. “They’re asking, ‘What do we do?’ and that creates a platform for the church to share Christ, the one true answer for changed lives and ultimately changed cities," said Anderson. “Hope for revival is borne out of troubled times.”
Anderson suggests several responses churches should consider:
-- We can pray. Anderson referred to Jeremiah 29:7, “…Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Anderson said, “So much of what we have is a spiritual issue. When is the last time you as a church prayed for our cities and communities?”
-- We must develop partnerships. Faith communities are rising up and local governments are seeking help. One thing that came out of this situation, Anderson said, is that churches are getting together to help the city formalize a strategy to meet needs for jobs and to help address poverty issues. Anderson said he will be attending a meeting with the Baltimore County executive and other community leaders to talk about the issues facing the county, how to address them and how to prevent what happened in Baltimore from happening in the county. A new partnership is developing.
-- We must preach the Gospel. “If there was ever a time to preach the Gospel, it is now! I think it calls for evangelism— not just evangelism in the suburbs where it’s safe, but at ground zero at North Avenue. I know people in churches are responding to that. They are going," Anderson said. "I think of John 4, when Jesus said he must go through Samaria. His disciples wanted him to go around it; after all, Jews don’t go through that part of the country. But Jesus said I must go. We can’t just can’t go around the city."
“We will never be able to eliminate poverty, but we can address the issues and make life easier,” Anderson said, but cautioned that churches must keep their eye on the most crucial need.
“We are not a social agency, we are a spiritual agency,” he urged.
Posted on Tue, May 12, 2015
by Sharon Mager filed under