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by David Larmour

An important part of understanding shalom is that biblical peace is experienced when each person has enough; in fact, more than enough! We’ve been given more than enough so that we can share with others.
Adoption is a theological idea (Ephesians 1:5). For those of us who have placed our saving faith in Christ, we have been adopted as sons and daughters into a common family. We were once outsiders and, because of adoption, we are now insiders!

King Street Church has adopted a local school in our community and we’ve called it our own! Mary Street Community School is the most under-resourced school in Oshawa. Many of its students come from impoverished homes—economically, socially and spiritually. The theological idea of adoption has informed our ministry methodology to “adopt” this local school.

Healthy churches are committed to carrying out the mission of Jesus in the world. A critical passage of Scripture that inspires us to engage our community is found in John 20:21-23—“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”

These words of Jesus have provided a template for us as we consider God’s mission in the world. The post-resurrected Christ sends His friends “on assignment,” and the mission has peace at its very centre. Peace received and peace offered are consistent with the mission of Christ and the work of God in the world. This extension of peace requires the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The work of spreading peace everywhere involves a kingdom announcement that forgiveness is available through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In John 20:21-23, we see a philosophy of mission that involves the spreading of peace. According to Perry Yoder in his book Shalom: The Bible’s Word for Salvation, Justice, and Peace, “Shalom is about how things should be in the world!”1 It’s not exclusively preoccupied with spirit or non-material reality, but is also committed to material well-being (Genesis 37:14), blessing and abundance (1 Samuel 1:17), safety and security (Job 5:24), and relational health between nations (1 Kings 5:12) and people (Psalm 41:9).

An important part of understanding shalom is that biblical peace is experienced when each person has enough; in fact, more than enough! We’ve been given more than enough so that we can share with others. Local churches are communities of peace, and they are endowed with shalom in order to extend it to the world around them.

When we Pentecostal leaders are at our best, we are carrying out the core mission of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit. As we read the gospels, we discover that Jesus was interested in the whole person. He was concerned about people’s material and spiritual well-being.

The spreading of shalom in the power of the Holy Spirit that comes with kingdom announcements is not a new way of doing ministry, but a return to the mission of Jesus—“As the Father has sent me, I am [now] sending you” (John 20:21).

The rabbis were known for promoting the idea that when a person is in right relationship with God, they become active partners with God in repairing the world. The Holy Spirit empowers people, shows them human need, equips them with gifts, and entrusts them with resources so they can participate with God in the healing of our world.

Listening is a beautiful way to demonstrate love and concern, and it is also the gateway by which we discern human need. We heard there was a group of under-resourced students at Mary Street Community School who came unprepared to start the school year because they didn’t have backpacks or school supplies. This isn’t the way things should be in the world, so we decided to get involved. We partnered with Staples and filled 100 backpacks with school supplies, announcing that a church community cared about students and their families.

We heard that 40 families from Mary Street Community School didn’t have enough for a full course turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. We again affirmed that this wasn’t the way things were supposed to be in the world, so we invited our church to prepare “Thanksgiving in a Box” for these 40 families. Our church family joyfully stepped up and filled 40 boxes for 40 families!

Our leadership team has always tried to show the way as it relates to volunteering and serving in our community. Once a month, we staff our office with a volunteer receptionist. This allows our administrative and pastoral team to travel to our school with a volunteer caterer from our church and serve a hot lunch to the student body. We are continuing to listen to what the Spirit may have us do as we discover different material and spiritual needs.

The church needs the poor just as much as the poor need the church. The early church valued the poor. When the Apostle Paul was included in the early Christian community, he acknowledged that remembering the poor was a clear priority: “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).

Mother Teresa said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” I think she was right! We trust God with every small act of love, knowing that each act of kindness, when breathed on by the Holy Spirit, can become part of God’s great, redemptive, healing work in the world.

1 Perry B. Yoder, Shalom: The Bible’s Word for Salvation, Justice, and Peace (Nappanee, Indiana: Evangel Publishing House, 1987), 16.
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DAVID LARMOUR— is the lead pastor of King Street Church in Oshawa, Ontario
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