As a burgeoning community of Jesus followers, our desire has always been to impact our town with the good news of Jesus in both words and actions. We are seeking to find a format and model that can easily be applied to any village or town that we could travel to, as a vessel for sharing God’s love.
The question has always been: what does this look like in French 21st century culture, and specifically in Brive-La-Gaillarde, a medium-sized town with a rural mentality?
At first, we investigated some of the more usual forms of demonstrating God’s love through social action: foodbanks, Restos du Coeur, (cafés for the homeless), clothes banks, listening, visiting, litter-picking, etc… But we rapidly discovered that there are literally hundreds of charities that are geared towards helping the poor and complementing the State’s provision. Moreover, many of these charities stipulate that as you are operating in a ‘Laïc’ environment (kind of secular) public space, you shouldn’t put forward your own religious beliefs. And so, while we are definitely not into proselytizing, we felt this would be too restrictive on us, as we would almost certainly always which to point to Jesus!
We have been exploring other avenues, such as art parties, trying to encourage growing artists, as well as other public artistic expressions (labyrinths, story-telling). We have also taken to praying on the streets, and approaching individuals, but this has felt a bit ‘weird’, and at times confrontational.
Lately, it seems that God is simply calling us to ‘do good and share what we have’ (Hebrews 13:16). We want to accompany all that is going on in the town with simple acts of love, random acts of kindness, showing generosity and listening (to God and to others!). We’d appreciate wisdom to know how best to present this and to be available on the streets of Brive-La-Gaillarde. Let God’s love flow through this city, demonstrating his tangible presence, providing opportunities to share Jesus’ good news in words, and bring glory to His name.