“TogetherLA is a movement of pastors, church leaders and people of faith who love LA. We seek the betterment of our city and will come together in 2015 for a three-day, city-wide event…”
I had the opportunity to attend TogetherLA in February 2015. It was an ethnically, vocationally, and denominationally diverse gathering of Christians who wanted to reach the lost, the poor, and the suffering in Los Angeles. Although the conference focused on the Los Angeles demography, any ministry would have been blessed by the sermons, insights, testimonies, and worship at TogetherLA. Tim Keller was the keynote speaker. If you want to listen to any of the talks, Biola has uploaded all the main sessions. Follow this link to watch them all: http://tinyurl.com/togetherlaTalks. To highlight just one of Keller’s talks, he engaged the question “how does the Church love the city?” Keller listed nine ways for the Church to love the city; I was especially challenged by his last point. Keller admonished the Church to be a suffering community – for the Church to be a place for sufferers, for the Church to care for sufferers, and a call for the Church to be willing to suffer for the Gospel.
The call to be a suffering community is a call to consider the call to love your neighbor.
“… And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29b). In Scripture, a neighbor is not defined geographically but by the act of being a neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus affirmed that it was the person who “had mercy” (Luke 10:37b) who was a neighbor. The neighborly person was not defined by race or vocation, but by compassionate actions. As a suffering community, we consider the ways that God has enabled us and convicted us to be a neighbor. This will look different for each person. As a single young adult this means I make myself available to the church and church members. I have time; I can volunteer my time to serve in helpful ways – to fill in the gaps. As a Christian this means that I extend hospitality to those who are different from me. I include, feed, and serve others. I continue to explore the ways that God has enabled me to be a neighbor: these are ways within my comfort zone. I am also exploring the ways that God has convicted me to be a neighbor: these are ways outside of my comfort zone. I would like to invite you to explore the ways that God has enabled and convicted you of being a neighbor.
TogetherLA was a blessing. It challenged me and encouraged me. The sessions highlighted ways that the Church has been called to love the city; speakers challenged the Church to care for the underserved and underprivileged. I was encouraged to see a diverse gathering of believers who wanted to embody the love of God to the city.
Check out other articles from the September 2015 Newsletter:
Read: Jon and Kylie are Engaged!