As with our other ministries, when we consider how God would want us to do outreach and missions at Hosanna!, we find ourselves going back to the model of Jesus during his encounter with a person in need of living water. The remarkable way by which he addressed her need then and our needs today. He continues to surprise us with his ruthless grace, his unconditional love, and his delight in God’s kingdom.
We have been transformed by our own encounters with Jesus and want very much to live out his love through our relationships. Using the story of this encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman as our guide, we developed, articulated, and attempt to live out the following principles:
- We resist the temptation to compete with others in a popularity contest for souls. Instead,we bless all those who are drawing people to Jesus and cooperate with them, whenever possible, for the good of the Kingdom.
- We follow Jesus out of our comfort zones to go out to the boundaries of our own society to encounter those who live at the margins. We follow Jesus across cultural barriers, we break human rules, and we demolish spiritual chains, wherever he leads us.
- We listen and do not impose; we invite and do not condemn. Our model is the example of Jesus who made it safe for others to talk about the Kingdom, and not that of the disciples, whose prejudices and rules erected barriers to meeting Jesus.
- We honor those with whom we engage. We treat their questions with respect and honor their spiritual experiences. We see in them the image of God and trust that they can see in us the love of Christ.
- We offer Jesus as sufficient for salvation. We do not manipulate or shame people into the Kingdom. We do not add to nor detract from the simple message of the Gospel: That God has entered the world through Jesus Christ, who is Lord and Savior. We share our stories of redemption with our own communities, inviting them to encounter Jesus as well. We invite Jesus into our church, our families, and our communities, and ask him to reveal himself to us and transform us.
These principles are our commitments. They are not burdens on our shoulders, nor duties to fulfill. They represent our privilege, our joyful response to the grace of God, our grateful retelling of our own liberating encounters with Jesus, when we were at the margins of our own lives.
In pursuing these commitments, we pursue God, the lover of our souls. We believe he is at work in the world and so we desire to find him and to follow him. And when we do, we delight in participating with him, for he invites us to be his coworkers in the Kingdom he is already creating in, through, and for us. In the Kingdom Jesus came to announce. In the Kingdom of love where He is Lord of all.