You don't have to reinvent the wheel to reach your community.
Churches, by nature, are selfish. Because the church is made up of people, and people are fundamentally self-serving, the church ends up expending much of its time, money, and energy on those who are already part of the family of God.
I am not seeking to be critical or mean spirited, I am just reporting what I see and experience everywhere I travel and talk with church people. As a matter of fact, when I say this to church groups, and I do on a regular basis, they never push back! They realize that it is true.
Now, here is the good news: since most churches are very concerned about taking care of themselves, they have developed a lot of good ministries to serve those who are part of their particular congregation. Even small churches often have plenty going on in order to care for, serve, minister to, educate, and inspire their own constituents.
Some years ago, I began thinking about the amazing things that could happen if local churches would vector their time, creativity, resources, and ministries out into the community. I call this the “Two-Degree Rule.” The idea is that we would take the effective and plentiful things we do for ourselves and simply direct these same things out into our community.
Here are three examples that will bring this idea alive…and inspire you to do the same at your church!
- A medium sized Reformed church was asking the question, “What do we do well (for ourselves) that we can offer to our community?” One person said, “Our church is 104 years old and I am pretty sure we have had a ‘meals ministry’ for about 104 years.” For over a century this church brought meals for five days in a row to anyone who had a surgery, new baby, or family crisis. To be more specific, they offered these meals to anyone…in their church!
As they talked about vectoring out into their community a couple of degrees, they decided to offer this same service to anyone in their community who had just had a baby, surgery, or crisis as long as they were not part of a church family. This 104-year-old, inward-focused ministry became a powerful new outreach ministry and they did not have to add staff, budget, or a new program! They just offered what they were already doing for themselves to their community.