Special thanks to Dino Rizzo, Executive Director of Association of Related Churches, for contributing this post, originally published here.
I believe we all have a heart for our city – a heart for our community. But the question sometimes is, how do we reach out? What do we actually do? Where do we start with outreach?
Isaiah 32:8 says, “A generous man devises generous things…” It’s one thing to be generous. It’s another thing to come up with a plan for generosity. It’s about getting to the heart of what your city is crying out for and thinking like Jesus.
To come up with a plan, you have to crack the code for your city.
Where Do We Start With Outreach?
You’ve got to figure out what is going on in the plot of land God put you in. Someone else’s outreach may not help in your city. It’s about paying attention to what’s going on. What’s happening in your city? What’s the reoccurring pain? Is it illiteracy? Incarceration? Homelessness? You need to crack the code.
2. ASK QUESTIONS.
You’ve got to ask good questions to the right people. Figure out how to engage your community. You can find out from elder pastors in the community, police, emergency medics, from councilman. What is the pain there? (Open Network tip: Use our free Local Mission Partner Evaluation Sheet to help you determine who to partner with.)
3. ACTIVATE IT.
This can happen through sermons, ideas, conversations. It can be done through small groups, events, or different leaders who have a heart for an area. There are people who wake up every day in your church thinking about pain. They wake up thinking about people who are shut-ins, or those who are trying to get job skills, or people in a neighborhood that is crime-ridden. Activate the people in your church who have a bent to serve and a heart to help others. (Open Network tip: How to Neighbor and This Is What We Do are great sermon series we’ve released at Life.Church to activate our attenders toward a mission or cause.)
Do something. You can’t solve every problem. But you can do something. We can’t change the whole world but we can change one life. It’s creating a culture that serves and then celebrating that. What you reward gets repeated. We can shout out and appreciate those who have a heart of compassion, who see things others don’t see or organize around an outreach. You’re thinking like Jesus when you think of ways to do good and bring healing to your cities.
Your church can take a step toward engaging your community by participating in Serve Day, an event where churches from around the world share the love of God through practical acts of kindness. To register your church to participate, or to find a local church you can partner with, visit the Serve Day website.
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