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Deep Roots

Living the Call

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Healthy roots in good earth are a key to trees bearing large fruit that contain the seeds of multiplication. Likewise, in Kingdom ministry, roots planted firmly in the truth of the gospel and the life of the church produce fruit that lasts and yields reproduction.

We live in a world of need. But thankfully our society, and particularly our younger generation, is motivated like never before to address hurts and right wrongs. Service agencies abound, and social networks buzz with opportunities for touching a hurting world. And in The Alliance, we say, “Hallelujah! Let justice roll on like a river!”

That statement is from Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” This couplet reminds us that lasting change that brings justice and resources to the needy grows from hearts made right with God. It is the glory of the gospel in the lives of God’s people that motivates compassion toward need. And the living church in the midst of want and injustice is God’s intended source of ongoing, multiplying transformation. Deep roots grow lasting fruits.

The righting of wrongs, life change and the meeting of felt needs are best accomplished and have long-lasting impact when they are rooted in gospel proclamation, discipleship and the life of the church. In 127 years of Alliance history, transformed lives and planted churches have produced the abundant fruit of hospitals, schools, ministries to hurting marriages and steps to gainful employment and responsible living. And these fruits remain and multiply because, unlike many one-shot interventions from secular agencies, these good works are rooted in the church of God alive among the people.

Interestingly, though, the formula can work in reverse. Today, in many ministry efforts by Alliance International Ministries and CAMA in newer locations, service often must precede proclamation. In settings that include suspicion of or hostility toward Christians, it is often the meaningful presence of our teams, manifesting tangible and appreciated service in Jesus’ name, that will open doors for the communication of Jesus’ love and lordship. Clean-water wells, medical care, business education—help that truly helps and not hurts—are all demonstrations of the gospel that, among many peoples of the world today, earn opportunities for proclamation of the gospel.

But whether proclamation precedes demonstration or the other way around, acts of service, mercy and justice that grow from—and draw people to—the soul-saving heart change of the gospel is a connection that makes true change last and multiply. Gospel roots produce gospel fruits.

In The Message translation, Colossians 1:5b–6 reads: “The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you.”

Why do we do what we do in The Alliance? Because lasting change comes when the gospel transforms lives and births the church. Alliance ministries today may begin with service or proclamation, but it is the resulting church, alive in Him and within its community of need, that brings the kind of change that lasts and multiplies.

Deep roots grow lasting fruits.

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