Evangelicals for Social Action Resources
Articles, Blogs, and News
Purpose: To cultivate personal spiritual vitality that can motivate, empower, and sustain evangelism and social ministry.Read more
Why: Holistic ministry begins as individual Christians experience the transforming grace of Christ and submit their whole lives to God (2 Cor. 8:5). As we are filled with the love and power of God's Spirit, we can become God's instruments for transformation in the lives of others.
Central Baptist Church: Opening the Doors of the Church to the Homeless
New Creation Lutheran Church / Iglesia Luterana Nueva Creación: Networking as a Foundation for Outreach
Half a block from New Creation Lutheran Church is an elementary school with 1,100 children. Weekday afternoons, Rev. Patrick Cabello Hansel often walks over from the church to make contact with the children and their parents as school gets out. The low curbside wall around the school yard boasts a colorful mural of cheerful pictures and positive slogans, painted through New Creation Community Center's youth employment program. Tulips blossom in the school yard, thanks to another church-sponsored project.
Tool #17: Ministry Program Inventory
How is your church currently involved in serving your community by meeting needs and sharing the gospel? Use the table in the attached document to list every ministry program supported by the church that primarily reaches people outside the congregation. If there are more than ten programs, you may copy the table as needed.
Tool #34: Community Asset Inventory
Every community has its leaders whether they be official or unofficial. Community leaders can be obstacles or
assets. Some leaders can prevent things from happening. They can block, harass, and cause
trouble. Rarely do they initiate positive action. There are also leaders who make a community
function, and may ally themselves with your efforts to improve the community.
Every community has its "gatekeepers, caretakers, flak-catchers, and brokers." Identify who fills this
role in your community of ministry. Use the attached document to identify, not only your community's leaders, but also the other assets that exist within your environment.
Tool #48: Qualities of Transformational Leadership for Holistic Ministry
How do you lead a church through a season of missional transformation? Most congregations
will not move forward in holistic ministry unless their leaders—called and empowered by God’s
Spirit—model the way. The following ten characteristics are hallmarks of effective
transformational leaders. As with every aspect of mission, developing these qualities is a
mysterious process that blends divine grace and human response. Look over the attached document and think about how your leadership can embody these virtues.
Rally Support For a Ministry Program
Your process of developing a holistic ministry vision may lead you to start a new
program, change an existing program to make it more holistic (such as adding a relational
evangelism component to a job training program), or partner with an outside program of
another church or agency. How do you recruit and equip members to connect to this new
venture in holistic outreach?
This attached document outlines the task of rallying the congregation’s support for a ministry has five basic parts:
inform, motivate, empower, ask, and reward.
Define your community of ministry
"Community of ministry" - the particular arena where the church concentrates its ministry - can mean several different things. (See Restorers of Hope, pp. 23-29; and Churches That Make a Difference, chapter 7.) Which of the following best describes the way your church defines its ministry community?Read more
Better together: Integrating word and deed
"Evangelism creates the committed people, the concern for the needs of people and the broad community base from which to launch social action. Social action, in turn, fleshes out the Lordship of Christ, reaching people's spiritual needs through their felt needs and developing an indigenous economic base for the work."
- John Perkins, A Quiet Revolution
As intertwining aspects of the same overarching mission, good news and good works have the greatest effect when they are practiced together (see Mutually reinforcing benefits of evangelism and social ministry").
Is your church's social ministry bearing spiritual fruit? Check whether the Gospel message is being communicated through your ministries as much as you hope or think it is in this attached document. Do program staff and volunteers actively seek opportunities to sensitively pray with people or to share their faith? Are church members given opportunities to connect with the people you serve, or is all the community ministry delegated to professional staff who may or may not be Christians? Is the church's mission structure consistent with its theology and vision for the community, or is it unduly influenced by secular norms or pressure from funders? If your evangelism strategy depends on sharing the motivation for your good works, are people actually asking you why you do what you do - and are ministry personnel actually prepared to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15)?
Research has identified five main ways that religious programs can include a religious dimension (see Ways of Incorporating a Spiritual Dimension into Social Service). Whatever methods they use, churches that integrate a spiritual dimension into compassion ministry must take care not to reduce social ministry to a mere "tool" of evangelism, a hook to snag prospective converts. Benefits must be offered as a blessing and not a bribe. Give people advance notice of any evangelistic activity so they do not feel tricked into hearing a "sales pitch." Be clear up front about the program's religious nature, and do not force people to enter a faith-based program against their will.
Keep in mind that the spiritual dimension of a social service ministry has a greater impact if a personal relationship is Involved. (See "Developing holistic, relational evangelism".) How might your church introduce relational evangelism into community or economic development ministries? For example, Tenth Memorial Baptist Church hosts a "welcome to the neighborhood" party for new homeowners whose homes have been built and financed through the community development corporation affiliated with the church.
What matters most is that the spiritual component is presented in a loving, sensitive and relevant way. Psychological manipulation, or trying to bribe, threaten, or shame people into some religious response, is never appropriate. We must serve people whether or not they accept the gospel, care about their whole being whether or not they recognize the spiritual dimension of their needs, and love them whether or not they understand that God loves them through us. This is the standard set by the grace of God, who "sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). (For more guidance, See Ethical considerations in evangelism and social service")
Take note: A shoddy program will undermine a holistic intent. The quality of Christian outreach is an elemental ingredient of the incarnational holistic message. "That's why I talk about excellence in the organization," exclaims the director of a community development agency that coordinates several church-based after-school programs. "You can preach, but people want to see results when they come into your building, before they make a change." If materials are inferior or out-of-date, if staff are ill-informed or unprepared, if the building is dirty or unsafe, clients will rightly question the truth of your words. Excellence gives you a better platform to share the gospel.
Adapted from Ronald J. Sider, Philip N. Olson and Heidi Rolland Unruh, Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works, chapter 4. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright (c) 2002.
IDENTIFYING BOUNDARIES BETWEEN CHURCH AND COMMUNITYRead more
Connect with ministry models, mentors and partnersRead more
But, what is considered too much? They're about to announce the lottery numbers. They need to accept your invite and once accepted you can start networking with them by sending messages, pictures, videos, etc. If you have long thread on some of your status, you can access to all comments and rejoice yourself by reading them. Some men are like mascara, they usually run at the first sign of emotion. Instead, you are asked to pay the price that is defined by the market, or other advertisers of similar category. The approach of transaction in any of the mentioned commercial schemes is usually similar.Read more
How do we develop ministry leadership?
Cultivate a team of visionary, transformational leaders
GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE MINISTRY JOURNEYRead more
Emphasize passionate spirituality. "Step One: Love God with your whole heart, and your neighbor as yourself." Transformational ministry begins as we submit our whole lives to God as instruments of Christ's love (2 Cor. 8:5). Faith without works is dead (James 2:20); activity without devotion is hollow (1 Cor. 13:3). So integrate prayer, theological reflection, and worship at every step. Bottom line: transformation is God's work.
Tenth Memorial Baptist Church: Effective Ministry PartnershipsRead more
"Whenever you partner with anybody, make sure that their mission and their objective complement yours, so that you don't get absorbed or side-tracked by what somebody else wants to do," advises Rev. Bill Moore. This is particularly essential when churches undertake to collaborate with government.
Activity: Explore & ConnectRead more
How do we overcome obstacles to mission?Read more
Confront interia, fears, and conflict
Life in Christ Cathedral of Faith and Media Presbyterian Church: Forging an Urban-Suburban Partnership
For thirteen years, inner-city pastor Dickie Robbins prayed for a cross-cultural partnership. He participated in several joint church projects, but each one fell through. In one case, he befriended a white pastor who offered to help Life in Christ start a food ministry. The partnership ended, however, when the member of the Anglo church who coordinated the program died, and the person's church stopped supporting the ministry. The partnership had never become central to that church's vision.
Pursue spiritual power for mission
- Tool #1 Holistic Mission Prayer Guide
- Tool #2 Mission Scriptures
- Tool #3 Personal Preparation for Ministry Action: P.R.A.Y.E.R.
- Tool #4 H.O.L.I.S.T.I.C. Devotional Guides
Learn about the local mission of the churchRead more
PROCESSING THE COMMUNITY STUDY REPORT
Many churches that undertake a community assessment do the study, write the report, file
the report, and forget about the report. But a community study is not information for
information's sake; it is gathered for the purpose of equipping the church to share the good
news of the gospel in word and deed. Keep this goal in mind. If you allow your study
committee to get bogged down in statistics or overwhelmed with details, you will end up
with "paralysis of analysis."