“How can I help my congregation expand its approach to
Strengthening the congregation’s outreach
means more than adding programs. It requires a willingness to
honestly assess the church’s capacity for mission, including
the discovery of latent gifts for ministry. Beyond this, the
most effective outreach ministries strive to bring charity and
justice closer together by deepening the understanding of root
causes. In addition, effective projects help to develop stronger
ties to the local community and world.
How the Seminar Works
Discovering Latent Gifts
At the outset, students use a comprehensive assessment tool
to develop a picture of their congregation’s capacity
for mission. Participants graph their responses onto a wheel.
The resulting shape looks something like a spider’s web.
It’s a picture of their congregation’s unique style
Bridging Charity and Justice
Through discussion and multi-media presentations, students are
provided examples of “best practices” in mission
and outreach, many of which bring charity and justice close
together, or which encourage local action on national and international
concerns. Participants review a comprehensive survey of 38 categories
of outreach action that American congregations currently provide.
Thinking Critically about Action
Students discuss a case study of four different outreach groups—a
program encouraging solo volunteer opportunities, an economic
task force offering workshops, an ecumenical community development
cluster, and Adopt-A-Family. Through discussion, students gain
insights into how practical thinking can create an outward spiral
to local community and world.