Challenging thoughts

Being in ministry for over twenty three years some might think they kind of have the answers to how “church” is accomplished.  To me it is rather exciting to be reminded that we have not arrived.  We don’t have all the answers.  Our world is changing around us and the question is not how are we going to stay the same but how are we going to respond.  Just coming back from a conference in Toledo where pastor Steve Viars from Faith Church in Lafayette, IN was a main speaker.  They have been doing something amazing in their community where they did not make programs and then try to find ways to invite their community to what the church might think was what the community needed… They had a unique approach and actually asked the community what they thought was needed and then tried to meet the real or perceived needs, as God gave them the ability.  

You know, I am struck about how we think we know the needs of our community and if the people around us would just submit to us because we know what their needs are and involve themselves in our programs to meet their perceived needs, we are doing God’s work.  What if we have it backwards?  What if what are saying and the programs we have in place are old and outdated?  What if we have isolated ourselves from our communities and we don’t even know it?  What if we are trying to meet needs no one knows exist?  Wouldn’t that be such an enormous waste of our time?  

Help me with your thoughts now.  How would an established ministry (church) go about finding the perceived needs and the real needs of the community – from the community itself?  Please share your thoughts… because I’m wondering if we have been doing it backwards all along.

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3 thoughts on “Challenging thoughts

  1. Interesting thoughts! I think it can be both ways, that is to say sometimes people don’t perceive what their real needs are and often churches don’t perceive what people’s needs are. In my ministry experience it seems that sometimes this is trial and error. Usually you can tell when you have really met a need because the response will be overwhelming.

  2. It was interesting reading your comment concerning the conference you attended with Pastor Steve Viars and how their church were experiencing a lot of success by first asking the community what their needs were and then trying to meet those needs. I am currently reading the book,” The Purpose Driven Church” by Rick Warren, because I had heard mixed reactions to what the Saddleback Church in California that was started by Rick Warren was doing to spread the gospel along with meeting the communities needs. I wanted to draw my own conclusions. I am about two thirds done reading the book and was very impressed with what I understand to be a biblical approach in reaching their community for Christ. For example, their starting goals were 1. To follow the two great commandments on loving God and others and, 2. To follow the great commission. They first surveyed the community to see what the needs were, and then went about trying to meet those needs. It appears that God is richly blessing that ministry. I would highly recommend for you to read the book.

  3. I think the majority of churches have fallen into the trap of tradition. They do what they have always done and evaluate the success of programs based on number of people who attend.

    Jesus was radical – daily he saw salvations, deliverances, and healings, Why doesn’t today’s church look at the number of people who are saved, healed and delivered like Jesus did? That’s when we will begin to see the non-Christians flocking to church – they are looking for miracles and real power. Why does today’s church ignore the John 14:12 mandate?

    Gatekeepers is going to where people (teams, politicians, etc.) live and work rather than waiting for them to show up to church (very few will) and attend the programs offered there. I think that’s where we all need to be – out in the world where they are desperate for the transforming power of God to rock their world…

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