Seeing Outreach through the Lens of Calling

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NOTE: The Building Blocks of Faith describe four spiritual needs everyone has that are met in Christ. Addressing these needs helps faith to flourish in people of all ages. For more in this series, see How the Building Blocks of Faith Can Shape Your Outreach Ministry and Neighborhood Engagement.

How would our engagement with our neighborhood change if we acknowledged that all people, whether they recognize it or not, are called by God? How can our congregations become 

  • places where our neighbors can explore and be encouraged to grow in their understanding of God’s call? 

  • centers for leadership training and support? 

  • places where folks can experience work as contribution rather than toil? 

Here are four examples of ways in which your congregation can create space for neighbors to explore areas of calling as you grow in your own communal calling:

Congregations who feel particularly called to creation care can help neighbors explore what this important work looks like within a kingdom context by inviting them to share in the work. Check out Ten Ways to Care for Creation, The Climate Witness Project of the CRCNA, A Rocha Canada, and A Rocha USA.

Congregations that have already experienced positive impact through their children’s ministry and youth programming can extend that by becoming a place for youth to explore their calling to be leaders who bless their communities. Leadership development is the first strategy for churches who want to become places where youth want to be and remain engaged, as described in Growing Young by Kara Powell, et. al. One trend that we are noticing is that emerging adults are very interested in being a part of small-scale missional communities. How might your congregation become an incubator of such communities while supporting leadership growth for the people who are starting such communities? 

If your congregation finds itself partnering with the Spirit in the area of racial reconciliation, what might it look like to host a mini “Sankofa journey” in your city or community? Reggie Smith, the CRCNA’s director of Diversity, describes Sankofa as a journey to explore racial reconciliation by visiting key sites in American civil-rights history in community with others, pairing African Americans with non-African Americans to share and discuss the experience. These trips can involve travel but can also be done as walking tours. How might your church partner with an African American congregation to offer this type of reflective experience for the broader community? 

Congregations who are close to university or college campuses might want to think about becoming places for vocational exploration and support. Hosting opportunities for area students to meet tradespeople, professionals, and entrepreneurs in your congregation and community can not only help students network with like-minded individuals but can also be a generative place for seasoned workers to talk about vocation, calling, and faith. These activities can also lead to mentoring and discipleship opportunities. 

 

For more in this series, see How the Building Blocks of Faith Can Shape Your Outreach Ministry and Neighborhood Engagement. And we’ve gathered a wealth of other resources in our free Building Blocks of Faith toolkit.

 

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