One of the conversations I’m having more and more often – which is about missional ecclesiology, although most people don’t think of it that way – involves congregational mission service.
Some churches – in their annual reports – have long lists of mission projects they serve. Often they give $200 here and $400 there, which is nice but not life-changing. We give money to projects we have been been giving money to for many years, even though most parishioners are not personally connected or even aware of those projects except, perhaps, in name only.
Other churches have compassion fatigue and zone out when appeals to give to various mission concerns are shared.
When outreach is tired and people are wondering “how to improve their mission work” I have been asking: “WHAT BREAKS GOD’S HEART IN YOUR COMMUNITY?”
The answers I’ve received range from curious looks (“What do you mean?”) to heartbreaking specifics (“Do you mean like teenager suicide?”) We might think that offering a tutoring program in our community is a fun idea, but maybe the need is not tutoring. Maybe we’d love to open a cancer support program but the American Cancer Society already does that.
What is the need that’s not being met – or even noticed – in your neighborhood/village/suburb? What’s breaking God’s heart where you live? It’s worthy of a conversation.