Mobilizing and Equipping Your Church for Holistic Ministry: How to Build a Sustainable Congregational Commitment to Providing Faith-Based Services to the Community

Citation: 
Unruh, Heidi Rolland. “Mobilizing and Equipping Your Church for Holistic Ministry: How to Build a Sustainable Congregational Commitment to Providing Faith-Based Services to the Community.” Unpublished paper. Conference on Working Together to Serve the Needy: Welfare Reform and the Faith Communities in Greater Philadelphia. The Center for Public Justice, Philadelphia, PA, December 8, 1998.
Abstract: 

Heidi Unruh focuses on the nature of church-based social ministry by outlining its characteristics and offering suggestions for preparing a local church to engage in community-action ministry. She states that churches make a difference in their communities when ministry flows from their own unique character and identity. The nature of community ministry thus demonstrates four distinct characteristics: it is strongly influenced by the congregation’s history, style, culture and priorities; it is rooted in the larger vision and mission of the church; it draws from a wide array of church resources not always available to social service agencies; and it represents not only a program but Christian community as well. <p> Developing programs consistent with a church’s identity requires these things. First, the church must be explicit about its theology for social mission. Second, the congregation must develop its vision beyond the walls of the church itself. Third, church leaders should clearly communicate the role of evangelism and spiritual nurture in social ministry. Fourth, the church must focus on nurturing relationships within the congregation and between the church and the community. Fifth, the church’s internal structures should reflect its mission to the wider community. Finally, social ministry depends on well-trained leaders beyond simply the pastor.

87