In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus said:
“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
When we consider this in light of mission it begs the question, who are our neighbours? In a literal sense our neighbours are the people who live nearby, in our communities, cities and country. While the need elsewhere and overseas is indeed great, we must not forget that there is also a need for us to be loving people and sharing Christ with those around us in New Zealand.
Around one third of our country’s population lives in Auckland and there is enormous ethnic, religious and socio-economic diversity. While there are plenty of churches and access to the Bible for those living in New Zealand, the hardened hearts, spiritual blindness and apathy means that many are living apart from God. There is still a huge need for people to have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ presented to them in a simple, clear way. That’s why Student Life decided to launch the Urban Summer Mission Project!
Urban Summer is based in the heart of Auckland City and runs for a two week period around the new year. The aim of this project is to focus on community outreach and evangelism. We packed a lot into these two weeks, partnering with a church in the CBD and reaching out to people through walk-up evangelism in local parks and areas, free sausage sizzles and drink stands and door knocking around the neighbourhood. We also had specific outreaches to serve the homeless and those living on the streets, as well as intentional relational evangelism with our friends and family, and a special New Years Eve nightlife outreach. Everything we did was underpinned by prayer and a desire to be trusting God to be at work through us and as a result we saw God at work. We had spiritual conversations with over 250 people and saw 14 people express their faith in Christ - which was awesome!
For the whole two weeks, while we were staying together at a Christian hostel in Mount Eden, we ran specialised training sessions and talks dedicated to heart areas and topical issues. We had heaps of fun together and formed genuine, deep and life-long friendships as well as seeing God work in each one of our lives as we trusted him in this step of faith..
What new thing are you trusting God for this year?
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