Being missional means that we are both evangelistic and social minded. It means that we care about people’s souls and their bodies. It means that because we care about the Gospel we should care about social and environmental issues. Being missional brings all of life together under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every church can be missional. The key is thinking outside of the box. We need to think of new ways to reach our communities for Christ. There are a number of ways that you can do effective community ministry that is missional. Depending upon the need in your community, your church can start an art ministry to reach local artists, start a food pantry, serve meals to the elderly, offer literacy training, or start an after school program for at-risk youth. Community ministry shows people in the community that you care.
Recognize the Needs of Your Community
It begins by recognizing the needs in your community. We will never know what the needs of our community are until we begin to get outside of the four walls of the church. It is amazing how little church people actually interact with non-churchgoers. Matthew 9:35, tells us that when Jesus went out into all the cities and villages he saw that the multitudes were weary and had compassion on them. As Jesus went into the community, He saw the needs of the people.
When you get into the community, you will begin to see what the needs of the people are. We began to canvas our city and assess the needs of the people. When we began to look around our city we saw many people with tremendous needs. Make a personal inventory of the needs, and then you will be able to start a ministry that meets the needs of your community.
Communicate the Needs to Others
If you are going to be a missional church, you must also effectively communicate the needs of your community to your church. Let people know the facts about the needs in your community. Tell others how they can help. I have learned that people want to help if they are properly informed. Communication is the key. You will be amazed how willing people are to join the cause of reaching your city. Compelled by a vision to rebuild the city, Nehemiah saw the need to rebuild the city
Don’t Do It Alone
Do not try to do it all alone. Do not forget to communicate with other organizations outside of your church that are already doing ministry in your area. One of the smartest things that we did was to network with other agencies in our area. The church can and should work with secular agencies for community impact. For too long we have had a false dichotomy between the secular and the sacred. You can work with secular organizations without compromising your beliefs. We regularly collaborate with the local arts council and other community groups to host art shows and music events.
The needs are great, but if we begin to work with others, we can make a difference in our cities and communities. People will rally behind the cause when we effectively communicate the need and the opportunity to get involved. Community ministry shows people how the church is essential to the community. People from other churches and in your community may want the opportunity to get involved. You will see that there are many who are looking for an opportunity to get involved in a worthwhile project that will help others in the community.
Once you begin to communicate the needs in your community then you must select an appropriate course of action. Do not just start a ministry for the sake of starting one, but also select a plan of action that fits the needs of your community. For instance, if you live in an affluent town then starting a food pantry might not be the best option. Food will end up perishing on your shelves. Perhaps you live in a city with a large Hispanic population, you can start an English study program to help them learn the English language. The key is to see the need and then meet it.