As a churchgoer, a recreational observer of Evangelical trends, and – most significantly – a redeemed (albeit imperfect) follower of Jesus, one of the most encouraging recent shifts I’ve seen in American Christendom is the emphasis more and more pastors are placing on kicking people OUT the doors of their church.
Certainly there will always be a place for evangelism and invitation campaigns, but – with the rise of The Missional Church Movement and others like it – churches are behaving less like social clubs and more like military outfits. Instead of collecting members, the focus is shifting toward training, equipping, and sending Christians out into the world to make a difference (a real difference!) in their respective neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states.
As Pastor Choco de Jesus of New Life Covenant Church said at a conference I attended recently, “Churches need to do more for their cities than occupy a street corner.” Indeed! It seems more and more churches are rising to answer this call, and – as they do – they are discovering that impact-driven ministries cannot be sustained without a generous congregation behind it.
And that’s what I want to talk about today. Generosity is my “beat,” and – as I talk and listen and learn – I am becoming ever more convinced that Outreach Campaigns must play a central role in every church’s stewardship ministry. (Yes, even the ones struggling to make ends meet each month.)
How can I say that with such confidence? Because here are just a few of the things outreach ministries, service projects, and the like can do for generosity at your church… (more…)