Jesus made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2). He did not come announcing ‘Do you people have any idea who I am?’ even though He could justifiably have started by singing His own praises. He came humbly, even telling people he healed not to reveal His true identity. Why was this?
He could have ripped open the sky and declared His own glory, but He chose to wash feet and hug lepers. He chose to bide His time.
What do we need to learn from his example to us?
Do we start by announcing our presence in the community, saying ‘Make way, the Christians are coming!’, or do we get on with serving, and, like Jesus, wait to be asked questions about why we are doing these things, and in whose name?
I can see how ROC could easily be misunderstood as just social gospel but, in fact, it’s only ever been about the full Gospel. We can look on such ministries and wonder if they are proper Christians, or even if they have sold out to the world for not starting with evangelism. But Ephesians 4 five-fold ministry starts with missional, apostolic work, not with evangelism. As every Third World missionary knows, evangelism comes a little later in the process, after credibility and trust has been built in the community, and after people start asking the question ‘Why would you do this for me? You don’t even know me.’ Let’s follow the apostolic model Jesus gave us, through people-based movements like ROC and become the real deal, declaring Jesus’ Lordship over every area of human life. If our God is not passionate about every school, every police station, every council chamber, and every hospital, He is not Lord at all. We would do well to consider the example of ROC and imitate them as they imitate Christ. It’s not that we don’t proclaim the Kingdom, it’s about what context are we culturing in our community to speak the Kingdom into? As the stories emerge from ROC Dawlish that tell how the doors are opening for the Gospel, consider how you might pray and respond. The Holy Spirit is moving in this land in a new and unexpected way. ROC is part of that Kingdom-building movement.