This week’s ministry briefing is asking the hard questions we need to pose about outreach and the health of our congregations. In most cases the question isn’t whether we’re doing outreach right but whether we can do outreach in ways that are more effective and more in line with our mission. Are we willing to make changes in our ministries, sometimes controversial changes, if we have a better chance at reaching people with the Gospel?
Short term missions have long been a hot topic both inside and outside the church, as they have been criticized for focusing on providing a life-changing experience for those who go on the trip and not for those who are being served. While this isn’t true across the board for all short term trips, this article in the New York Times raises helpful questions about how we allocate our resources, how volunteers use their talents, and how we pursue partnerships overseas and in other outreach contexts.
Perhaps the most important theme is that of working with people who understand the context, identify what is needed, and help your congregation provide the resources and help that is needed the most. This personal focus is also essential for an article on Easter Sunday follow ups.
Most visitors will fill out a card while visiting your church on Easter Sunday in order to learn more about your church or about the Gospel, but do you have a follow up plan in place? Naturally, the more personal your connection, the better. A generic form letter or a series of emails will most likely fail. However, a personal note or email with one or two simple steps for follow up will be far more effective. Do you have a point person who is in charge or providing personal follow ups with visitors and helping them get connected at your church?
Finally, the article on church growth trends reveals that churches who can innovate without getting swamped in conflict are far more likely to grow. Other trends in church growth included a clear ministry niche, a mix of young and old attendees (rather than majority older attendees), and a highly involved congregation. The more involved your attendees, the more likely a church will grow.
Find this interesting? It’s just some of the stories great leaders are reading about this week in Ministry Briefing! All readers of my blog can get the next four issues of Ministry Briefing for just $1!
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