Part 3: Finding the Time and Money for Outreach
In two previous blog posts (Community Outreach in the Purpose Driven Church Part 1 and Part 2), I have examined the role of community outreach in the mission of the Purpose Driven Church as described by Dr. Rick Warren in his book by that name. Community outreach is central to virtually all five of the principle areas where Dr. Warren encourages all churches to focus: ministry, evangelism, worship, fellowship, and discipleship. The church simply cannot be effective without a priority placed on outreach ministry. So why does outreach seem, so often, to either not be our focus or, despite our best efforts, not be very effective? Essentially, the challenge becomes finding the time and money necessary for effective community outreach. But I believe, more often than not, the resources are there but the delivery systems are flawed. We’re simply not making the best use of the time (energy and intentions) and money available to the church and its members.
The Ultimate Measure of a Church
The level of participation of church members in ministry, and the number of souls saved, are ultimate measures of the “fruit” of a church. Dr. Warren writes, “How many have been equipped and mobilized for ministry? How many are fulfilling their life mission in the world? These (are two of the questions that) measure our success and force us to evaluate if we are really fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.” Yes, achieving a church’s purposes of ministering and evangelizing within the community, as well as using outreach ministries to build disciples and foster fellowship, will require a commitment of time and money. But what a worthwhile investment!
Empower Church Members for Effective and Efficient Outreach
Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Church at Corinth (9:13)
Today, many churches and ministries are using innovative, effective and inexpensive outreach programs. While big events can be an expensive, like block parties that bring Christian churches in a community together to help those in need, they can also be landmark occasions for both the church and the community. Support groups and classes on topics like marriage, child rearing, career planning, etc. require time but not much money. Meet The Need minimizes the resources or effort traditionally required of the church. Meet The Need can mobilize church members to be ministers in the community directly and in very impactful ways. Making an investment in community outreach is not optional; the only question is how to be most effective and efficient in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the un-churched in our communities.
Note: This article touches on principles from The Purpose-Driven Church but the viewpoints expressed herein may not necessarily be ascribed to its author, Dr. Rick Warren.