By CTA-Christ to All
Community caring benefits members of the community and the church. From its earliest days, the church has prioritized caring for their communities. Connecting with people when they are facing hardships or challenges is exactly what Jesus did for us. In our sin, we faced the ultimate hardship of separation from God. But Christ, in his mercy, became one of us, lived the life we could not, died the death we deserved and then conquered sin and death so that we are restored to our creator.
And now it’s our turn. When we serve people in the places we live, the community caring benefits those who don’t yet know Jesus.
Why Should Churches Care for Their Community?
When we meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of others, we are responding to the mercy that God showed us in Christ. Jesus often met a person’s physical needs first and then called that person to repent and follow him. Jesus also showed compassion without judging a person’s worthiness. In fact, he often cared for Jewish enemies. He healed a Roman official’s son. He pronounced forgiveness to a Samaritan woman. In the crowd of 5,000 people that assembled to hear him preach, there were certainly sinners in the crowd.
And yet, Jesus cared for them all. And so do we. We are called to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those around us, believing that the benefits churches bring to the communities are well worth our investments of time and energy.
What Benefits Can the Community Receive through Your Church?
Community caring benefits are numerous.
Benefits to the community include the following:
- Meeting a need that otherwise wouldn’t be met
- Allowing organizations to put more resources into programs instead of employees
- Enhancing current programs and services
Providing access to programs locally so people don’t have to travel long distances to receive assistance
Benefits to the church include these:
- Providing places for members to use their God-given gifts
- Enhancing local reputation of the church
- Having the opportunity to connect with people and share Jesus’ love
- Building relationships with local organizations
How Can Individuals Care for Their Community?
How you care for your community depends largely on your community. The good news is anyone can do it. Why? Because we all have friends and acquaintances in the community that, at some point, will want or need to be cared for in the same way that Jesus cared for us.
One of the best ways to care for your community is to be prepared. You never know when someone will pull you aside and confide in you or ask for help. Have a few quick prayers or prayer outlines committed to memory so that you can confidently pray with someone.
You can also keep a small stock of reminders to give away as encouragement to those who need them. Items like faith tokens can be given to someone to keep in their coin purse or pocket. Scripture cards often come in sets and have Bible verses and prayers to encourage those in need. And magnets are great, visible reminders of God’s promises in difficult times.
How can My Church Care for the Community?
Caring for the community in ways that benefit the community is an excellent way to meet people’s needs and start a conversation about faith and church. Churches often have space on campus that goes unused during the week. Offering these spaces to community organizations increases the impact of care in the community. Some ideas include those listed here:
- Host a job fair for employment seekers
- Provide storage space for the community food pantry or women’s shelter
- Open meeting rooms for grief support groups
- Offer office space for mental health professionals who have satellite offices
- Get a group together to serve at a soup kitchen or make lunch for support meetings
Provide lunch for the staff at a local non-profit
Caring for the community is our joy and privilege as God’s people. And community caring benefits those receiving care as well as those providing that care. Prayerfully consider how God might be calling you and your church to provide physical, spiritual, and emotional support for your neighbors who are struggling.
While we can meet some of their needs, we trust that God is working in the hearts of everyone in our community, stirring them to faith in the One that truly meets all of our needs—Jesus.
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