I started a series some time back about how we are attempting to make our ministries more effective. Our 20s & 30s ministry has been the lynch pin of this effort so far but we hope that it expands much broader than that as we take what we have learned and begin implementing more effective procedures into other ministries. One of the key things that drove us to change was the realization that we had confused ministry with just studying the Bible. If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that Bible study is very important to me but I think it is important that we realize just opening up the Bible and studying does not necessarily lead to life change or actually being salt and light in the community.
So we got to work organizing how we were going to get outside the box and actually use Sunday morning class as a spring board for real ministry. We have only been at this for one month and I have to say some really neat things have come from it:
- We have written letters of encouragement to our shutins offering to take church to them on future Sunday mornings. This would involve part of our class meeting during worship with some shutins to sing with them, study the Bible with them, take the Lord’s Supper, and fellowship in their homes.
- We are in the middle of a jacket and socks drive for the classroom of one of our 20s & 30s who is a kindergarten teacher in a very poor school.
- We wrote Christmas cards to prisoners in a local jail and are finding out what inroads we have there for Bible studies.
- We have begun strengthening our college class, which has typically been our weakest link, by having some of our 20s & 30s go to their Bible class, encourage them, help teach, and connect with them in an effort to get to know them better and eventually make their transition into the congregation a lot easier.
There are dozens more things planned in the coming months that are all very exciting. But one thing that we have recently been reminded of in refining this process to be as effective as we can make it comes from this question – “Are we just meeting needs to meet needs or are we meeting needs in a way that opens people up to having a life transformed by Jesus Christ?” One of the concerns I have for the teens and young adults today is that they will turn back to the social Gospel…lots of service and making people feel better (as Jesus himself did) but lacking the end goal that Jesus himself was really after…changing people’s lives and drawing them closer to God.
So as we look ahead into 2011 we are going to be intentional to make sure all the serving we do isn’t just about making people feel good (which is not all bad in and of itself…just not all it could be). We want to draw people closer to Jesus through everything we do.