Churches and believers should attempt to embody the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ and bear witness to it, Jonathan Chaplin, director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE), has said.
He sets out steps for churches and individuals to consider, to help them make a new start in 2014, in the fellowship and reaching out into the community.
Among the ideas, set out in a KLICE newsletter, Mr Chaplin suggested that local churches should recover the original, radical meaning of diaconal service (Acts 2:43-47).
He said, ‘Concrete expressions of Christian solidarity with genuinely needy members of the congregation — single parents, the unemployed, the disabled, people running businesses on the edge of collapse — will visibly demonstrate “how these Christians love one another”.’
Mr Chaplin also suggested that church leaders should encourage their congregation to give workplace testimonies and support them as ‘faithful disciples in these areas’.
He also challenged local churches to ‘tithe’ their time, energy and money towards activities promoting social engagement — 10 per cent of their annual budget, sermon topics, small group activities and outreach work, adding: ‘Stand back and see what happens in 2015’.