A few years ago, a pastor friend of mine took leadership of a new church. It was a good congregation with solid people who loved their church. They generously gave their time, effort and money to the church, but they weren’t involved in their community. He knew that the church had to engage their community if they were going fulfill God’s plan and reach the next level. He struggled getting them involved in their community. It took a few years before He transitioned them from an inward focused group to an outward focused force.
Share God’s heart for the poor. He spent time showing the church examples of God’s love for the poor that came from the Old Testament, the Life of Christ, and writings of the apostles. He made the case that Christians should serve the poor because God cares for them.
Partner with local groups. He connected the church with local organizations who were already involved in the community. He partnered the church with a ministry that served teen mothers, another that served the children of inmates, and one that gave food and clothes to families in need.
Create rhythms of opportunities. Through these partnerships he established weekly, monthly, and seasonal service options. People could serve weekly in a food pantry or at the teen mothers’ ministry. They could spend one Saturday a month driving the inmates children to see their incarcerated parents. And others, could serve during the holiday seasons gathering school supplies, feeding people during Thanksgiving, packing shoe boxes with goodies for kids during Christmas, or supporting a local coat drive.
Celebrate service. The church celebrated the good that God was doing through the church with announcements, videos, and slides. The celebrations brought God glory, excited the church, and motived people to get involved. Everyone likes to be involved in the cool things that God is doing.
Over Communicate and Coordinate. They announced the events via email blasts, and scheduled them on the church’s calendar. He created groups for volunteers and posted the needs of each service project. He’d use their church management software to communicate the need and coordinate the people into action.
How do you encourage generous behavior in your church?