For most of us, the pandemic reduced our ministries to socially distant worship last year. That was all the ministry we offered, and some of us are still there. But to be a growing ministry we have to connect people, who are not already worshiping with us, to Jesus.
No matter how small your congregation is or the circumstances surrounding your abilities and resources, every church can do one thing really well. What is your current one thing that you all can work on together to connect people with Jesus? What is that one thing that will define your church in your community?
Most likely, your community has never known all the ministries you’ve offered, but hopefully they have known you for something good. Maybe you’re the ice cream church or the VBS church. Maybe you’re the Celebrate Recovery church or the dinner church. Maybe you’re the food pantry church or the health and fitness church. Maybe you’re the after-school program church or the youth group church. Maybe you’re the local missions church or the date night church. What is one ministry that your whole congregation can get behind with their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness that will bless your community as people are introduced to Jesus and engaged in on going discipleship?
Take a good look around your community and really see the people, resources, and gaps in ministry. Who is there? (Don’t get hung up on who isn’t in your community.) Who is not being reached? What need is not being met? What gifts and resources has God already given your church to meet that need and reach those people?
Remember Jesus’ parable of the talents? Turn in your Bible right now to Matthew 25:14-30. Notice at the end that the bag of gold was taken from the unfaithful servant and give to the one who was faithful with much. This is true for our churches. When you have been faithful with a few disciples and a few resources, more will be given to you. But it is also true that if you are unfaithful to do the will of God with the little you have, then that too may be taken from you and given to one who is faithful.
So if the only ministry you’re offering still is worship, it is time to visit with your leaders and discern the one ministry that will make your church and Jesus known in your community. Figure it out and do it with excellence; with passion, energy, love, and welcome.
If you’re not sure what that looks like, visit a church that is known for one thing and find out why they are known for it. I recently started attending the Celebrate Recovery ministry in our area. It is the only thing I know about that church and it may well be the only ministry their congregation offers right now, outside of worship.
On my second visit, three people were baptized! I told my husband later that there is something different about witnessing these baptisms and hearing their stories. These people are truly submitting to Jesus as their Lord and savior and He is setting them free! It is awesome to worship in a place where the Spirit is moving and lives are being transformed!
If you want that kind of joy and activity of the Holy Spirit in your church, then discern the one thing God has already gifted you to do and pour into it together! If you would like support in that discernment process, and casting this vision in your congregation, reach out to me! I would love to offer you a free coaching session!