Welcome to Community Outreach!
The Community Outreach department exists to help Seventh-day Adventist Churches in western Oregon and southwestern Washington develop ongoing relationships with their neighbors in order to meet their needs and introduce them to Jesus.
What does that mean? It means this department supports any endeavor of a church other than overt evangelism, to make connections with its community. In other words, it means that every program endorsed by Community Outreach will include some component of outreach.
Jesus says, "As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34 NIV). This injunction is a command, therefore we belive community outreach is a non-negotiable for Christians. Jesus also says, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:17 NIV). In these pages you will find tools to help in doing outreach; you will find suggestions for how to help your neighbors and you will find stories of blessing, just as Jesus promised.
Jesus' command extends to every member, young and old, rich or poor, single or married, working or retired. Because of this, there may be some overlap in the departments of our churches which gives all of us the opportunity to partner with each other in outreach. We endeavor to help churches think creatively beyond the walls of distributing food and clothing or providing health education aimed mostly for their members. We want to help you as conference leaders, pastors and members alike follow Jesus' example of mingling with the community.
The Holy Spirit is blessing our outreach adventures. Many members are already experiencing the miracles and excitement of community outreach. May you be richly blessed as you bless others in your neighborhoods.
Keep What Works, Throw Out the Rest
By Mike Temple
What does eBay, cupcake decorating, and community leadership lunches have in common? They are all forms of community outreach! It has been my passion over the last few years to discover new ways to reach out to the geographic areas that we serve and begin building personal relationships between church members and members of the community.
I've tried to sum it up in my own words, but I've found it quite difficult to improve on the following quote: "Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "follow me." Ministry of Healing, 143
Winning confidence in the world that we live in is easier said than done. We look for a variety of outreach methods that serve as relational "springboards" when it comes to meeting new people that might never step through the doors of our church facility.
We've used eBay Seller Training classes, cupcake decorating contests (I actually got that idea from another pastor,) iPod Nano giveaways, financial classes, marriage seminars, guitar lessons, healthy snacking classes, beginner computer instruction, and the list goes on and on. We're testing to see what could possibly work, and we're being honest about what doesn't. We keep doing what works, and we tweak, (or throw out) the things that don't.
With everything that we do, we have an end result in mind; build a relationship with someone we didn't know before, and ask the Holy Spirit to open doors to share our faith with them as our trust in one another grows.
What will we try in the future? Here are a few things that we're kicking around:
"How to Market Your Small Business on Facebook" Seminar
Vege-oriental Cooking Classes
A mom's support group for young mothers (complete w/ babysitting for their little ones while the moms visit with each other.)
Video editing classes
A morning mall-walker's outreach in a local indoor shopping center.
Will these ideas work? We don't know. But we'll be honest about the entire process whether it does or not. We have discovered that with personal involvement and investment in the lives of others, we are seeing tangible results in the opportunities we have to share our faith. And that's what it's all about!
Mike Temple is an Adventist pastor in North Dakota. He also authors the "What's Working in Outreach" blog . You can become a subscriber to a newsletter of the same name by visiting the blog and signing up