What might God be up to in your church?
As we begin 2022, we have the opportunity to equip and unleash the members of our congregations into the mission of God in our local neighborhoods. Each of our churches has amazing individuals with unique skill sets, abilities, passions, and experiences—all of which can be utilized as they engage in the work that God is up to in their communities. Often, however, people don’t know where to start. How does God want me to share his good news with the world? Where do I begin? Should I quit my job? Change jobs? What if I mess up? What if I pick the wrong work to do? Do I have enough time? Do I join something already going on or begin something myself? Am I even talented enough to start something myself?
The wide array of both needs and opportunities in our world can be debilitating, which is why it can be helpful to provide a framework—a guide—for how the mission of God applies to each and every individual in our local church family.
One such framework has been laid out by Pastor Dave Rodriguez, author of A Why to Live For, in what he refers to as the “six broken places.” Within these six broken places, explains Rodriguez, all the forms and functions of brokenness, sin, and evil in our world can be grouped together. The six broken places are:
- Separation from God due to our rebellion against God and our sin.
- Isolation from other humans as authentic communities disappear.
- Pain that is physical, emotional, and mental.
- Hatred toward other children of God.
- Decay of God’s good creation.
- Injustice perpetuated through broken or evil systems.
Each of the six areas can be expanded in multiple directions to cover any place or situation where the kingdom of God is not yet present in its fullness. For most individual Christians, one of these places will resonate more deeply than the others. This deep passion for one of the broken places can help guide an individual or a group forward as they consider how to get involved in their community. Consider which area, which broken place, gets an individual the most on fire and then encourage them to pursue ways of spreading the love of Jesus within that broken place in your community or city.
Passionate about the broken place of separation? Pray about joining a church plant in an unreached part of your town.
Passionate about the broken place of isolation? Consider starting a monthly lunch event for the elderly in your church and neighborhood.
Passionate about the broken place of pain? Volunteer with a local hospital or counseling center.
Passionate about the broken place of hatred? Join a multicultural club or organization in your area.
Passionate about the broken place of decay? Research how your church can convert your greenspace and/or extra parking lot space into a garden area and adopt a “grow, don’t mow” mindset.
Passionate about the broken place of injustice? Lead your church in a group study on holistic poverty alleviation focused on your geographic parish.
Once someone in your church can identify the core broken place they are driven to engage, they have taken the first step toward transformational work, both for themselves and for the world! As each of these areas is addressed, the kingdom of God will be evident more and more in the world. When healing and wholeness are brought into all of these broken places, we find reconciliation with God, loving communities, healing of minds and bodies, shalom, creation care, and Christocentric justice.
When healing and wholeness are brought into all of these broken places, we find reconciliation with God, loving communities, healing of minds and bodies, shalom, creation care, and Christocentric justice.
This is the hope-filled future we hear described in Revelation 21:1–4: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
One day, hopefully not too far in the future, Jesus will return, and all the brokenness of the world will be fully healed, all that is fractured made whole, and there will be no more tears or death. As we eagerly await that day, each Christian is invited to participate in engaging the broken places in our world today. And 2022 is a great time to start! Invite your church to consider these six broken places and ask the question: What might God be up to in your life?