It is so easy for a church to become busy with all kinds of programs that are basically irrelevant, including worship services and sermons that have no relevance to the people in the pew. It is time for us to be on target and relevant to the people we serve!
The methodology for this is simple. We must meet the needs of the people where they are hurting or where they are struggling. There are multiple crises in American society today- family problems, social problems, depression, financial crisis, individual conflicts, etc. It is time for us in the Church to understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ comes to meet these needs! The exciting thing about doing beeds-based ministry is that people will come, their lives will be changed and our ministry will be revived. The goal should be to simply help people out with their lives by showing them the gospel of Jesus Christ through the lives of his followers. When people experience the love of Jesus through the sharing and caring of others, they come to know Christ as he wants to be known.
In order to do this, the planning of church programming must always include the question: “Is this going to meet needs?” Or better yet, “Whose needs will this programming serve, and is this the focus we are willing to maintain?” (This includes worship planning! But that’s another topic.) If there is not a good answer to those questions, then the planning for that program should be thought out again and perhaps be taken in a new direction.
So in our highly secular society, how do we find what those needs are? We look around us at our friends, family, co-workers and community at large. Where are people hurting? What is lacking in the community? What is causing a conflict or difficulty? What are people saying? We need to pay attention to the people around us and listen and observe. Ask questions, offer ideas, think outside the box for solutions to problems that will help and serve others.
Single mothers, teen drug use, family conflicts, grandparents raising grandkids, cancer victims and their caregivers, dementia patients and their caregivers, disabled children or adults, --the list of needs within our communities goes on and on. And the Church can provide help and support in many ways to these problems. Sometimes it is as simple as organizing a support group, and sometimes it will require a more concentrated effort to establish a rehab center, or an urban garden to provide fresh vegetables for an area. But a group of committed Christians who truly want to share the love of Christ can come together and find ways to meet the needs of people in their community.
In our rapidly changing society, the Church should offer constant stability and be a source of help and hope for the future. We will do this by consistently bringing the gospel of Jesus to our world through meeting the needs of people.