Christ in the Community

harvest

If your church were to close the doors today, would the community notice? This question is often asked to convey the need to be present and helping in the community. Many times, pastors and church members feel they are active in the community because they are doing x or y. However, sometimes x and y are things the community doesn’t need or doesn’t know the church is there doing it.

It is very important for the church to exegete the community in order to determine what needs are present, and which ones the members of the church can meet. This will allow your church to be able to provide real ministry care rather than symbolic ministry. Symbolic ministry is the type of ministry where the church goes out and does something that the community doesn’t need, but the church feels good about it when they are done. Unfortunately, the church members are the only ones who are helped in this instance. Strive to do ministry that meets real needs in the community. There may be needs present that are beyond the abilities of the members of your church. In this situation, you can partner with other churches in the association to meet the needs.

As you are doing ministry in the community, don’t forget the most important thing. Charles Roesel, Pastor Emeritus of FBC Leesburg, FL, stated, “As a local church, find out what’s not being done in your community and do it! You’re the only one who can make sure they have a Christian witness.” The key to effective community ministry is that you remember that you are being a witness for Jesus Christ. Don’t fill their stomachs without addressing the needs of their hearts.

What works best? That depends on the needs of your community. Here are three steps to implementing a ministry evangelism strategy:

  1. Prayer walk through the neighborhoods of your community. Pray onsite with insight. Investigate the issues and concerns of your neighbors. Prayerfully travel through the neighborhoods asking God to reveal the best approach to meet needs in the community.
  2. Identify four or five key needs of the community. Meet with your church members, and ask them to prayerfully consider how to meet these needs. Is it something that your members are equipped to handle, or do you need to find help? Design a strategy to minister to the community needs.
  3. Implement the strategy. Meet the needs. Share the gospel. Every three months or so, evaluate the effectiveness of the ministry. Reboot as necessary.

Some examples of effective ministry evangelism projects are*:

Ministries to Parents and Married Couples

  • Family seminars
  • Parents’ day out
  • Marriage-enrichment seminars and retreats
  • Cradle Roll
  • Premarital counseling and seminars
  • Lamaze/birthing classes

Ministries to Women

  • Pregnancy care
  • Women’s care
  • Clothing
  • Lamaze/birthing classes

Ministries to Men

  • Rescue mission
  • Single fathers
  • Clothing

Ministry to Children

  • Day care
  • Mother’s day out
  • School clothing
  • School backpacks
  • Foster care
  • Summer day camp
  • Vacation Bible School
  • After-school care
  • Tutoring
  • GED program
  • Fall Festival, Trunk or Treat

Ministry to Senior Adults

  • Adult day care
  • Homebound ministry
  • Nursing homes
  • Transportation to church, doctor’s appointments, and treatments
  • Lawn care
  • Widows
  • Day outings

Ministry to Single Adults

  • Car repair
  • Home care
  • Meet and Greet

Ministry to Special Needs

  • Deaf persons
  • Blind persons
  • Caregivers

Health-Care Ministries

  • Aerobics
  • Healthy lifestyle seminars
  • Health screening
  • Bloodmobile
  • Flu shots & school physicals
  • Clinic

Sports Ministries

  • Athletic events, host
  • Athletic teams, provide a meal before a game or, popsicles during practice

Ministry to the Community

  • Food bank
  • Christmas toy store
  • Financial seminars
  • Income tax assistance
  • Bereavement
  • Furniture barn
  • Clothes closet
  • Families of prisoners
  • Personal-care kits
  • Homeless assistance
  • Counseling
  • Soup kitchen
  • Prisoners
  • Special events
  • Grief recovery
  • Eating disorders
  • Disaster relief
  • Utilities, rent & gas assistance

Ministries to Persons in Crisis

  • Rape crisis
  • 24 hour crisis line
  • Crisis counseling

*List from Appendix 2, “Meeting Needs, Sharing Christ: Ministry Evangelism in Today’s New Testament Church” by Donald A. Atkinson and Charles L. Roesel, Lifeway Press, Nashville, TN 1995.

 

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