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How Your Church Can Make a Huge Impact with a $0 Budget

You don’t need big buildings, budgets, or clever programs to impact your city.

You do, however, need a new scorecard and upgraded approach to ministry.

A New Scorecard and an Upgraded Approach

For generations, churches have measured attendance and budgets as indicators of success. Why? Because we have a strong bias toward self-preservation. Let’s be honest, the purpose of our congregation is often centered on the members.

In Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal writes that this internally focused ministry model isn’t transforming communities or helping people live in the selfless, sacrificial way of Jesus.

He argues that the way forward for the North American church is to recapture the ancient idea that the church exists for its non-members. Measuring community impact is the new target as churches learn to lay down their agendas (and financial statements) for the sake of the world around them.

Good News

Wherever you are, you and your congregation can join God’s mission, and have a huge impact in your community!

It doesn’t take bigger budget, new programs, upgraded facilities, or expensive equipment--just an upgraded approach.

Right now, where you live, there are people working tirelessly for the common good. Teachers, pastors, non-profit employees, social workers, healthcare aides...you get the point.  

They have God-inspired dreams and visions about how to help real people in your area. Most have plans and budgets already in place. And many are looking for people like you and those in your church to partner with them.

Eight Years Ago...

Eight years ago, our congregation started cultivating a relationship with some local elementary school leaders. For two years, we worked on “beautification projects” on their campuses (mostly raking leaves) until one principal asked if we’d be open to doing more. This request led to a series of conversations and a relationship that’s blossomed into deep friendships and important impact 8 years later.

Our volunteer role at the school has saved many of us from some of our our self-serving tendencies. It’s also impacted the school staff, students, and families in beautiful ways. In 2016, the school received a golden ribbon and a golden bell in acknowledgment of their work in partnering with our church.

This request led to a series of conversations and a relationship that’s blossomed into deep friendships and important impact 8 years later.

In the last year, three other California Public Elementary School administrators have asked us to help them find congregations willing to partner with them.

This is not a theory. There are real opportunities for churches to positively impact their community without the headache, hassle, or financial burden of managing their own outreach.

At the school where our 25+ volunteers serve weekly, there are 650 students, and over 70 staff members. Imagine the logistics of trying to run a program with that reach!  

Beyond Schools

And it’s not just educators who are looking for partners. Redlands Family Services, a local non-profit organization that seeks to “alleviate poverty, encourage self-sufficiency, and promote dignity” invites churches like ours to partner and recently celebrated the partnership we have together.

The Redlands Police Department is hungry to work with church groups in creating Youth Leadership Development programs and has invited 6 different local churches to work with them.

The Redlands Charitable Resource Coalition is a group continually communicating opportunities for those called to helping care for the homeless in our community.

The list could go on and on.

Your city is filled with people who have God-sized dreams and plans to benefit the common good.

I highlight the possibilities for partnerships outside our local church because I believe deeply that those groups are available in your city as well. If you commit to the idea that you exist for others, the impact your church can have will reach far beyond your congregation.

The new reality is that when you change your target to community impact, new possibilities for ministry will surface.

Your city is filled with people who have God-sized dreams and plans to benefit the common good. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to have a huge impact. Join them. My hope is that you’ll look for ways to fulfill your church’s mission by partnering with organizations that God is already using to create a more just world.

Want to learn more about this approach to ministry? Diaconal Ministries Canada has resources like the Community Opportunity Scan to support and equip you. 

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