It’s way too easy for churches to coast. Urgency is a gift.
If we’re not moving forward in ministry, we’re moving backward. Reaching outward is part of the mandate for success.
Nothing is as devastating as a church that is focused solely on its individuals, bickering over things that don’t have eternal significance, while the community is desperate for hope.
I recently read what is now a 20-year-old book called 101 Ways To Reach Your Community by Steve Sjogren. His church at the time in Cincinnati was a pioneer in serving the community in radical ways. Some examples of the church’s outreach included: passing out water while people stood in lines on hot days, offering free car washes, wrapping gifts for free at the mall. In fact, back then, they credited their enormous growth to these simple, yet radical acts of kindness and hospitality to their community.
Every church should have an eye and a heart toward finding ways to connect with the community and neighborhood around them. This requires some creativity, planning, and financial support, but it will be fun for your people. It will energize your vision and it will make a difference in the lives of people.
Here are three (of many) reasons to reach out:
If your church doesn’t focus outward, your mission will grow fuzzy and your life cycle will be shortened. Your growth will stop and there won’t be new people involved. I remember once reflecting on how church plants have to work so hard to make sure people know they are out there! Established churches can learn a lot of this sort of passion and zeal. Part of it comes down to survival. Unfortunately, an established church can be dying for 20 years before anyone notices – and can continue to subsist for much longer!
The church is called to go out! We’re called to share the good news, disciple others, invite people in, and seek out the lost. It’s the call of the Great Commission and we need to be faithful! You don’t have to be phenomenal, but faithful in consistent and intentional outward focus and invitation.
There is a place for inwardness and the development of Christian community. But the paradox is that while we are serving outwardly together, we’re growing deeper. The church exists for those not yet in it. If your congregation is so busy with inward-focused discipleship making, you’re missing out on one of the best tools to grow bold disciples. Risk taking outward ministry! Do your best to build an outwardly focused culture within your congregation.
Get a group together and plan something to reach out! It doesn’t have to be a big group and it doesn’t have to be a big thing!There 101 amazing ideas in this book!
- Seven ways the church can shine in the community
- Ministry Leaders: Do something new this fall
- The best thing the church can do in the community