At the heart of justice endeavours is the mandate to serve those who are most vulnerable in our society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vulnerability is the degree to which a population, individual or organisation is unable to anticipate, cope with, resist or recover from the impacts of disasters.
God’s heart is towards everyone, but particularly those who are vulnerable; those with the least social and economic power. The Bible is very clear on what our response as God’s people should be towards marginalised groups in our society – whether they be in our own backyard or in our global community.
Neighbourhood in Practice
We had the opportunity to put our response to our neighbour into practice in a matter of weeks. In July last year, a series of earthquakes hit the islands of Lombok and Sulawesi in Indonesia, leaving thousands displaced and communities devastated. At the same time, our attention was called to the critical drought across eastern Australia, which was crippling farming families and livelihoods.
Across weekend services, Hillsong Church contributed to both the drought-affected Australian farmers and to World Vision Australia’s emergency relief efforts in Indonesia.
At this time in our nation where the pressure to cut overseas aid was high, Reverend Tim Costello, Micah Challenge Australia’s Executive Director and Chief Ambassador for World Vision Australia, encouraged Australians by saying that support of Australian farmers needn’t be at the cost of overseas aid.
As a church, we were able to reach out and stand with those in need, both in our local context and with those suffering beyond our own borders, knowing that the Kingdom of God is never either/or, but always both.
Communications Coordinator, CityCare (AUS)
Who is our Neighbour?
Hillsong Church’s response to those in need is founded on our Biblical understanding of what it means to ‘do justice’ and our understanding of who our neighbour is. If God defends the rights of the poor and needy, then as people of God, and bearers of His Name, we must do likewise. Our neighbours are both local and global; it is not one or the other. It is anyone who is in need. We have a responsibility to give attention and due diligence to both those in our ‘backyard’ and those outside our borders.
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Head of Social Justice, Hillsong Church
 (WHO, 2002)