Matthew 25 in the PC(USA)
Whatever we do for the least of these we do for Jesus
We are called to live out Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 to serve our neighbors in need. The Matthew 25 Initiative focuses on tackling challenges of systemic racism and poverty both locally and globally.
Matthew 25 Overview: The Matthew 25 initiative was created by the Presbyterian Mission Agency and seeks to encourage and equip PC USA churches across the country to be actively engaged in the world in tangible ways. The goal is for followers of Jesus of all ages to put feet to faith, hands to hope and legs to love. At Highland, we believe that we all have gifts and talents to share as we reach out to our community.
The mission of Matthew 25 flows from the words of Jesus when he declared, “whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” Following these words, the Matthew 25 initiative invites individuals and congregations to act with boldness and compassion to serve those in need in their community, congregation, and in the world.
Education and self-reflection play an important role in this process. Individuals and churches are encouraged to begin from a place of humility and listening before moving to informed action. This initial step is one of growing in awareness and will be our focus this Fall.
We have put together a congregation-wide 21-day awareness challenge devotional includes an article or video to watch that focus on the topics of systemic poverty and structural racism. The goal is that by the end of 21 days you will have grown in your awareness of the world, had time for intentional self-reflection and be energized to put your faith into action in new and important ways. Please find the PDF versio of the 21-Day challenge below for your useage.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What about current missions?
A. Highland will continue to support and participate in the mission efforts we are currently involved in both locally and globally. The Matthew 25 Initiative provides a helpful framework for looking at the work which we are engaged in as a church and provides a vision for moving forward together.
2. What do we mean by “the least of these”?
A. When Jesus identified “the least of these,” he was talking about those easily overlooked and regularly marginalized: The hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the homeless, the naked, the prisoner, the sick and alone. They are with us still, and Christ is still with them inviting us to join in caring for those whom He loves.
3. Who decides the Matthew 25 Focus?
A. We are all relying on God’s guidance and direction to decide our focus. With prayerful consideration Session will make these decisions with guidance from the Matthew 25 Leadership Team (comprised of representatives from Session, along with Pastors, staff, Deacons and Trustees). Everyone is welcome to voice their ideas to Session members for consideration.
4. Are we partnering with local mission organizations or are we starting from scratch?
A. Whenever possible, the Matthew 25 initiative will look to partner local organizations and pre-existing mission partners to strengthen the bonds and relationships already formed. There is the possibility of new partnerships, and these will be carefully committed. The goal is to listen and learn and support good work already being done rather than re-creating the wheel.
5. How can the congregation be involved with the Matthew 25 Initiative?
- Grow your awareness of systemic racism and poverty. Join the community of people at Highland doing the 21-day Awareness challenge (an intentional 21-day commitment to learn about systemic poverty and structural in America)
- Micro small groups- During the 21 day challenge find a friend or two to talk with regularly about what you are learning.
- Attend one of our awareness/educational events coming up in October either virtually or in-person.
- Develop or deepen existing relationships with people of different races. Listen and learn from them.
- Participate in opportunities at Highland and at our local mission partners. Reflect on these experiences and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit about where and how you should commit your time, talents and resources to alleviate racism and poverty.
6. Can I invite my friends to be a part of the 21-day Racial equity challenge?
A. Yes! We encourage you to invite your friends who are interested in learning about racism and privilege and power dynamics and how that connects with Christian faith.
7. Is Matthew 25 Political?
A. The Matthew 25 initiative is not political! It is neither Republican nor Democrat. People and churches from all backgrounds have and are encouraged to participate. Matthew 25 is rooted in the teachings and life of Jesus and is deeply concerned with the well-being of all people created in the image of God. It is concerned with loving our neighbor, seeking justice for the oppressed, and hope for the marginalized. Our hope and prayer is that Matthew 25 can provide a rallying point for all followers of Jesus as we learn, grow and take action.
8. Where can we find out more specifics?
A. Talk to a member of the Matthew 25 Leadership team or the Matthew 25 coordinator Rev. Simeon Harrar. You may also look at the Matthew 25 website at presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/