What makes RLP unique? These six ministry distinctives articulate the spiritual values we prioritize and the strategies we employ in order to faithfully minister in the public sphere. If you have questions, or you would like to engage in a fuller discussion about how these priorities are lived out, please contact us.
Loving the Foreigner
The Israelites were called to empathize with foreigners because they themselves had been refugees in Egypt. Today, we choose to love the foreigners residing among us because we recognize that we are spiritual foreigners here on earth. We love the foreigner because God loved us and welcomed us into his Kingdom. The way we love foreigners is a sign to the watching world of this spiritual reality.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
— Deuteronomy 10:18-19
“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”
— 1 Peter 1:17
We are committed to the cultivation of authentic and long-lasting relationships with displaced people. We follow the model of Jesus, who spent the bulk of his earthly ministry in deep relationship with a small number of disciples. Our goals reflect this by prioritizing friendships and time spent in homes. As we listen to their needs and concerns, we respond with organic solutions that serve the person as well as the broader community to which they belong.
“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.”
— Luke 19:5
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
— Matthew 25:35–36
Honoring the Spiritual Journey
Jesus guided people in Kingdom principles long before they identified as his lifelong disciples. At the Great Commission, some of those closest to Jesus were still doubting. As we meet people wherever they are in their spiritual journey, we invite them to come and see more.
“And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ ”
— Matthew 28:17–20
“Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ ”
— John 1:46
We seek to exhibit a simple obedience to Jesus while welcoming others to live out his commands in culturally appropriate ways. Our hope is that the people we serve will remain embedded within their own ethnic, linguistic, and cultural communities, becoming disciples who authentically reproduce themselves within those unique contexts. This aligns with patterns exhibited in the book of Acts, where many stories involve persons of peace leading whole households or communities to the radical love of Christ.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”
— Revelation 7:9
“The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ ”
— Acts 16:14–15
Core Mandate of Blessing
To communicate clearly with a diversity of audiences, we focus our public image on our core mandate of blessing. Just as ancient Israel was blessed in order that God’s blessings might flow through them into the wider world, so the Church today is blessed to be a blessing. We avoid succumbing to culture wars, instead aiming to be peacemakers that are welcome in every room.
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
— Genesis 12:2–3
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
— Matthew 5:9
Welcoming All People
To remain a welcoming environment for all people, we choose to express our faith through spiritual conversations within the confines of authentic friendships, rather than through public presentations. Our approach has the following implications: We do not publicize the spiritual journeys of the people we serve, we do not use our public programs for Gospel presentations, and we welcome people of all faith backgrounds to serve as volunteers.
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
— 1 Corinthians 2:13-14
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
— 1 Peter 3:15–16
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
— Matthew 10:16