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What have we learned: Celebrate

January 19, 2011

From time to time people ask about what we have learned about community impact from doing what we do. For the next few weeks I plan on sharing some of what we have discovered these past six plus years of trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

The second item I would share that is crucial if you want your church to be outwardly focused is celebration. You need to keep your community impact ministry front and center.

Recently I shared our story with a church in another state. I asked before I spoke what they had going on that impacted their community. They shared a couple of ministries and that was it. What do you think followed? Once I spoke to the church I found they had many more efforts that impacted the community, they just didn’t recognize this fact. This comes because we don’t celebrate them enough.

This can happen because people often don’t see their individual ministry as ministry of the church. Does that make sense? A person has a passion and a calling and they get the ball rolling. They do it because they have a love for someone or something. They get support and do what it takes but they never make the ministry a part of the church.

Churches often don’t see these ministry efforts as “theirs” because the governing body of the church didn’t start them or come up with them and because of that they are not celebrated as being a part of the church.

If the church is the body of Christ and Jesus is the head any effort done by a member IS work of the church. We need to celebrate accordingly. I have known of churches that leave members hanging because what they are doing is not on their official to do list.

Not only should that change, the church should actually be celebrating the work. Take it front and center. Make it a part of the announcements. Show videos and pictures of whatever the work is. Who knows, maybe the ministry would grow because of this celebration. Maybe other people with a calling and dream would be encouraged to begin their own efforts.

I don’t know what God would do but I do know we need to celebrate.

Very few Sunday’s go by where we are not celebrating our community impact ministry. Just this past week we shared pictures of our Write On Essay Contest winners. I shared the story of how the children responded, how the parents reacted to the news, and the appreciation of the school officials.

Think about it. I also have four essay’s that I can share on four different Sundays. I can invite the student to come and read their essay to my church or video tape them reading. I can use what I learn from the students to do other community impact ministry. We plan on doing a Trash Out day because that is the number one theme in the essay work we receive.

The essay contest wasn’t’ even the only item we shared. So remember, celebrate what you do. You may find that you already have a lot going on that you are just not talking about.

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