Sometimes reaching into your own community and discovering ways to help is often the hardest. People we see every day need to know the hope and healing power of Christ.
Churches are constantly challenged by the changing needs of their communities. Texas Baptists can see many opportunities to follow the biblical mandate to feed the hungry, provide water for the thirsty, to clothe the naked and to seek justice while spreading God's Word (Matthew 25). Our challenge is thinking beyond the walls of our churches to being on mission in our neighborhoods and communities bringing God's Shalom for the church and the community.
Community Needs Assessment
The Community Needs Assessment is traditionally used effectively to develop strategic planning in most associations in Texas and is easy to use by congregations with little or no guidance. The BGCT, however, can offer assistance in training congregations and processing the findings for use in new ministry efforts. Contact Julie Valentine for more information.
Poverty Ministries of Relief and Empowerment
Poverty ministries may be as simple as establishing a benevolence ministry that may include a food pantry and clothes closet, or as complex as a mission center that serves as a "full service" center. Real help includes immediate relief as well as life and family empowerment. It is important to "give a man a fish," but it is perhaps more important to "teach a man to fish," and thus give a real sense of empowerment and fulfillment. Help ranges from simple "how to" pamphlets and ministry ideas to assistance in developing a holistic approach to meeting human needs is available to your church.
Texas Baptists can look at their community's specific needs and the church's strengths. The church can develop a mission strategy and an action plan that is focused on transformation of the lives of people in need and in the lives of those who are serving.