Most congregations engage in social ministry to some degree, and most feel that their efforts could be better. But planning for ministries that seek to serve or influence the world beyond the sanctuary can be challenging. Because the world’s needs are so large and complicated, outreach efforts are especially vulnerable to criticism. How, then, to have a positive, constructive conversation?
One way to begin is to pose good questions and invite people to discuss them while a planning team takes notes. Make it clear that the purpose is not to critique your current ministries or to make decisions about the future. Decisions can wait for another time. At the outset you want to get people thinking more creatively about the basic reasons for the congregation’s community-outreach ministries.
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