by John Hailes/ July 26, 2018
Last year our church made the decision to consolidate its outreach and focus on one section of the community. We realized that a lot of our outreach projects were already being done, and sometimes done better, by other local churches. We also determined that while we did a lot of good things, we hadn’t seen much fruit from our actions. What we ultimately realized was that our efforts were being spread across so many different issues and areas that we weren’t doing a great job of making an impact in any one of them.
This year we decided to focus all our efforts on a local elementary school. When my pastor shared the vision with the church he noted the story of Nehemiah and how the different families each took their own section of the wall to focus on rebuilding. It sometimes seems like a lot of churches are crippled by the desire to fix every problem in the community. However, I can’t help but wonder what a difference we could make in our communities if different churches chose to focus on different issues and areas.
Our community is large, and the issues are many, but our church has chosen to focus on a section of the wall. We set out to create a strong and lasting relationship with one of our local elementary schools. We contacted the principal to ask where we could be of help. Over the course of six months we have had many easy ways to get involved. We have made a simple splash by sending 15 volunteers each week to support the classrooms. This is impactful for them, since they only had three weekly volunteers previously. We have blessed the teachers with treats, and we keep the staff room clean and full of snacks. We have helped them host an end-of-year carnival and supported them with mentors. These are all small things that, when focused in one area, have made a big impact.
After just six months of involvement and support, the principal has asked our congregation to attend their back-to-school barbeque, with all the school families. He told us he would like to recognize our church and introduce us to their families. He even asked us to wear our church t-shirts.
Here are suggestions to improve your children’s ministry outreach:
Are your outreach events working together toward a goal? Do you have a strong relationship with the community around you? Do families in your community know who you are? The more you evaluate, the more you will know how you need to modify.
Your focus might be a part of the community or a specific issue within the community. What is your five-year focus? When we began talking with the school, we committed to ourselves that this would be our focus for at least the next five years. The more focused and faithful we are to an issue or area, the more effective we can be.
When you have found your focus, be sure the things that take the most of your energy are targeted toward your church’s focus. We haven’t had to scrap all our outreaches, but we have realigned most of them to target our new focus.
It will take time to take a long, hard look at your church’s outreach ministries. Don’t forget to ask the Lord’s guidance in how you can make the most impact in your community. Then move forward with a strategic plan of action!