How to Serve Your Community!  Seems like an odd title right?  Maybe.  When it comes to churches engaging their local community, this is a question that we must constantly return back to.  Let’s dive in and see what the ideal way to serve our community looks like!

When we think of local missions, many times we can think about the ministries that our church is in partnership with. As we approach the topic of local missions, think about your community, not just the ministries. Some churches may call local missions, Outreach. Either is fine. For our purpose, let’s use the terms local missions to show what we are doing in our community for the Gospel.

As we venture out into our community, every church wants to make the greatest impact for the Kingdom as possible. I’ve yet to meet a church that desires to have a mediocre local missions effect. However, there is one question that many churches fail to ask. This question should be the first and foremost question that is asked before we venture out of the church doors to serve.

That question is….What are the needs of my community?

I know this seems odd but many churches get caught up in serving their community that they fail to seek out their communities actual needs. There is a difference between serving your community and meeting your communities needs. Bear with me here, let’s explore this topic together.

Generally speaking, churches do a fine job of serving their community. When needs arise, many churches have sacrificed in order to ensure their community is restored, healed and brought closer to Jesus. We have seen this so much over the past year with Covid, Racial unrest, etc. There are many stories of churches physically being the hands and feet of Jesus. Or as one pastor calls it “They desperately need a cold cup of water in the name of Jesus.”

Jim Collins wrote the business book Good to Great and says “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.” Take this and hold it next to the roots of the word Compassion. Compassion is comprised of two Latin words and means “To suffer with”. Hence, why you see Jesus so many times be moved to action from compassion for those that were “…lost without a sheppard” Matt 9:36.

Serving our community can be considered good in the sense of Jim Collin’s book, however, meeting the needs of your community is greatness. When we intentionally choose to suffer with our community in the name of Jesus, we begin to meet the needs of our community.

As a church or missions team, have you taken the time to get to know your community well enough that you know the 3-5 needs that your church is poised to meet for the Gospel? Does the local clothing closet need more clothes? Or volunteers to come and help sort and clean the donations? Does the foodbank need more food? Or volunteers that will go around and shop with each customer helping them get what they need for their family?
Finding out the exact needs of your community is vital for your churches community relationship and gospel saturation.

A pastor friend of mine told me recently that when Covid shut down the local restaurants that were near their church, their congregation became motivated to help. Instead of letting their local Subway throw away all of their food for making subs, they bought the store out! All of that food then went to essential workers and the Subway was able to pay their bills and employees. That is a vivid picture of meeting the needs of your community.

How can you go about learning the needs of your community? What non-profit and Christian ministries are working in your area that you can sit down and ask how your church can help meet their needs?

We got this! Let’s take the time to look at what we are doing as ministry leaders and ask the questions “Are we meeting the needs of our community?”