GLOBAL EMBRACE – Sharing Jesus Through Service
Central to Concordia’s mission of “Building Lives of Excellence upon the Foundation of Christ,” is living out our faith and love for Jesus as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). An intentional emphasis has been placed on encouraging Concordia students to participate in Global Embrace a movement at Concordia that provides opportunities for our students to “Share Jesus Through Service” in multi-cultural settings both locally and worldwide. Christ has entrusted the student body of Concordia with a wealth of gifts and talents. Global Embrace is one way that Concordia seeks to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts by fulfilling 1 Peter 4:10-11 and bringing glory to God’s Name through service:
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Values That Drive Concordia in the Global Embrace Efforts:
- Active Faith Life: Since Jesus has made us competent to be ambassadors for Him (2 Corinthians 3:5-6) we have the power through Christ to be doers of the Word (James 1:22), not just hearers of the Word. He frees us to live a lifestyle of worship (Romans 12:1-3) to bring His Name Glory.
- Connection: God designed life to work best in community. Jesus gave His life so that we could be connected to God the Father, and in turn be connected in a community that He calls His “body” or the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-30). Then God calls His church to be a blessing to those churched and unchurched alike so that more people can be connected to Him and His church.
- Leadership Development: Christ calls His Church to lead out as imitators of Him (a servant leader) in Philippians 2, so giving students the opportunity to practice servant leadership in and through service is of upmost importance at Concordia.
Global Embrace At Work - Click on the links below to learn more!
These foundational principles will continue to be the basis for defining the types of activities Concordia will pursue in seeking partnerships to spread the Gospel. Global Embrace incorporates the needs of local/domestic issues and therefore is not limited to just international experiences. Our actions will embody Acts 1:8 through a ripple effect of being Christ’s ambassador permeating “our” Judea, Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth. Partnerships that are already planned include the following:
Christian Social Action Class - God is abundantly clear about how we are to treat other people. In the Christian Social Action class, we learn the story of those in need physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. We literally try to change the world, even if it only means changing one person's world. "This is what the Lord Almighty said: "Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the foreigner or the poor..." (Zechariah 7:9-10).
- Downtown Houston – Concordia is collaborating with LINC Houston which is a mission organization that sees the need for new and healthy faith communities across the city among our ethnic and urban neighborhoods. They plant new churches that are self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. This partnership will allow us the opportunity to serve Houston and visit various cultures and ethnic groups (in the city).
- Honduras - A partnership with HEART4CHILDREN, a ministry to boys and young men. This ministry seeks to rescue young men from the streets by creating a safe place for them in a boy’s home and providing them an education at the nearest college. HEART4CHILDREN also has started a K-6th grade Christ-centered School in the local village where currently our Spanish 4 students are pen pals with a number of these students. In the summer of 2013, a shipping container full of daily needed items (i.e. sheets, clothes, pillows, books, computers, school supplies, lockers, etc.) was delivered to the boy’s home and school. These items were donated and collected by Concordia students and families.
- Costa Rica - Concordia has an ongoing relationship with a rural community in Costa Rica, and have been building homes there since 2012. Students become immersed in the culture as they work with local residents to construct a new home for a deserving family. Students also learn explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica, including the rainforest, caves, cloud forests, volcanoes, beaches, and more. Email Paul Cheney for more information at email@example.com.
- Kazakhstan – Students teach Bible lessons, play, and interact with elementary school children who, without our involvement, would not receive any Christian interactions due to their governmental regulations. They also assist in renovating areas to make them safe and usable for the residents. Email Steve Karner for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Galapagos - Every year a group travels to a different country, experiencing new cultures and growing as a Concordia community. Since 2013, this group has visited England, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, and Thailand. For the Summer of 2017, this group will visit The Galapagos, small islands off the coast of Ecuador. The Galapagos trip will include hiking a volcano, snorkeling with wildlife, island hopping, white-water rafting, and a day of mission with the local community. Email Jackie Gerard for more information at email@example.com
Future activities being discussed will include support at disaster relief areas and exploring our connections with Asia as a possible trip.
Funding the Mission and Service
Jesus provides … this sounds silly, but once we laid out the vision of using our gifts to bring God glory through the efforts of Global Embrace, Jesus provided the funding through the generous hearts of His body of believers. Currently, donations, chapel offerings, and student funding has provided the resources needed to make these opportunities possible. Planning is already taking place to hold a Global Embrace Celebration event where the vision will be shared and an appeal for a partnership of financial support will be made. This event will include participants sharing testimonies and videos illustrating what Christ has accomplished during the various service experiences.