How do I get my church started on the missional path? The simplest way is often the best. What would happen if every ministry of the church began to give some of its effort to an outside-church experience? For example, what if the Trustees Work Day at church also included an hour of picking up trash in the surrounding neighborhood and, even better, flyers had been sent out inviting the neighbors to get involved and to partake in a light “thank you” meal afterwards? What if the choir placed an ad in the local paper inviting people outside the church to join the choir in preparing special music presentations for Christmas and Easter? What if the choir shared its cantata that they spent three months preparing by performing at local nursing homes or community shelters or even the mall? What if …?
As more and more people experience the joy of being involved in demonstrating God’s goodness in partnership with a hurting world, they become aware of their ability to connect with the greater whole.
Once the inside-church groups begin to think of ways to become involved with the community outside the church, the possibilities expand, and in the process the church begins to develop a mind-set that the whole community is the place of God’s caring and sharing. Consider these suggestions:
- Do Vacation Bible Study in a community center, instead of the church, in cooperation with other community groups that care about kids. Some folks would like for their children to have the experience but get nervous coming into a church building.
- Have a women’s group work with the local hospital to host a women’s safety and health day.
- Have a men’s group offer to rebuild and repair small maintenance items for elderly neighbors near the church and invite men from the community to get involved.
These things would not be done to make the church look good. They would be done because the church is good and wants to reflect God’s compassion to others.
The potential for multiplying mission teams is exponential. As more and more people experience the joy of being involved in demonstrating God’s goodness in partnership with a hurting world, they become aware of their ability to connect with the greater whole. This is the kingdom of God among us — no part or person unimportant, no part or person overlooked, and no part or person too small to be involved. Before you know it, your church will be increasingly engaged with the community, and their excitement about being used by God to demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ will become infectious.
This article is an excerpt from Learning Mission, Living Mission: Churches That Work, by Glynis LaBarre, copyright © 2012 by Judson Press. Used by permission of Judson Press, 800-4-JUDSON, www.judsonpress.com. Learning Mission, Living Mission is available from Amazon and Cokesbury.
- Connect with Your Neighbors Resource
- Fast Forwarding Your Church’s Community Engagement by Reggie McNeal
- Key Competencies for a Missional Church by Tom Berlin
- Mission as the Emerging Entry for New People by Lovett H. Weems, Jr.