Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
All Christians are in mission. All pastors and all congregation members are missionaries. Every congregation is a congregation in mission. Mission is essential to the life of every congregation, because the Great Commission is directed to every follower of Christ. Through baptism, all Christians are commissioned as missionaries.
Each congregation needs to discern its own gifts and abilities and its own context and setting so that it can develop and implement suitable strategies for outreach in the local community, in the wider community, and in the world community.
How do we reach out in Christ’s name to children, young people and families in the wider community?
HOW DO WE REACH OUT IN CHRIST’S NAME TO CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES IN THE WIDER COMMUNITY?
Be an individual, family and congregation of constant prayer. Continually thank God for the way he welcomed you into his family through baptism. Thank him for the sacrifice of his son Jesus through his death and resurrection, so that we can be so freely welcomed into his family. Pray for the members of your congregation and for your family that you continue to nurture each other in the Christian faith. Pray for the visitors and newcomers to your congregation, as you welcome them.
Pray for your wider community. Pray for your congregation’s mission and ask God to prepare ways that your congregation can reach out to the wider community in his name.
Here are some ideas of how to reach out through household hospitality and the ministries of your congregation.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
- Wherever you are, welcome everyone, including children and young people.
- Learn the names of the people in your congregation, including children and young people. Greet them using their name.
- Become a mentor to a young person or newcomer of your congregation.
- Find opportunities to share your story and how you are part of God’s story.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
- Welcome families into your home. Share your faith rituals and traditions with other families. Be intentional about talking about your Christian faith. Say grace before your meal. Share your favourite Bible story or verse. Pray for each other.
- Invite a non-church family to join you for a picnic or day trip. Find ways to talk about your faith in general conversations.
AS A CONGREGATION
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7
- Consider offering worship on a Friday or Saturday evening, this time might be more accessible.
- Organise events on your calendar that people can invite their friends to.
- Invite families from your local community to a blessing for children and youth beginning primary and high school. Ask Grow Ministries for their resource.
- Be present at community events like parades, festivals or local markets.
- Share stories of local community heroes in your church publications.
- Encourage all generations to be involved in service activities organised by your local community.
- Think about offering a special ministry that is welcoming of families of your local community. (* see ideas below)
“Sitting around a table goes much further to connect people to one another than simply sitting in the same pew.” David Anderson, Vibrant Faith in the Congregation