It’s exciting to see many churches embracing community and missional ministry more than ever. When I grew up, I can’t remember being challenged to go out into my community to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the poor and under-resourced. Perhaps that’s why it took me so long to personally ‘get it.’
The church where I now serve really ‘gets it.’ We are a church with a weekly attendance around 1,200 and after an intentional effort the last four years to become more missional, we’ve seen this fruit.
- last year we gave more money to missional causes than we ever gave in a year’s time
- 1500 participated in some way in local missional efforts, many multiple times
- 100 went on a short-term missions project overseas
- we just completed our annual Helping Hands project in the community and nearly 500 people from four different churches served
We even coined a term that has helped capture the spirit of our church: serving the Least, the Last, and the Lost.
So, what have we learned and what are some principles to keep in mind if you want your church to become more missional?
- Find a champion. One of our pastors had a vision 10 years ago for us to become more missional. He has persisted for those 10 years.
- Build missional ministry into your annual church objectives.
- Keep the vision before the church often. Repeat it in messages. Encourage small groups to do missional projects together. Celebrate victories and tell lots of stories.
- Offer multiple, small steps for your church. Stay persistent and don’t look for just one big thing to comprise the extent of your community ministry, although a big event can catalyze your church.
- Develop partners. Find local city our community agencies that need help and offer to help them. We’ve worked with over a dozen city agencies, the local United Way, the city of Aurora, IL and several other churches.
Persistence will pay off. This year our church actually won the community “Volunteer of the Year” award from the local United Way. We didn’t apply for it in any way. Rather, the committee that makes those choices had seen our extensive work in the community and made the decision.
So, as you lead your church, consider how to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the community.
Some great resources:
For more Ministry Help and Resources for Pastors, visit Pastor Stone’s main site.