This fall I’m leading a breakout session at NOC2010 titled, Outreach in the Crises of Life. I’m convinced that care and ministry during life’s crises is not only a great thing to do, but the most overlooked outreach opportunity churches have. Crisis ministry focuses on what churches do best — helping people find meaning in life’s great transitions such as birth, marriage, illness, aging, and death to name a few.
Unfortunately, outreach in life’s crises is often reserved for our own church members as part of a typical church’s internally-focused pastoral care. But what if churches began to focus pastoral care on those not members of their congregation? One church I heard of recently made its sanctuary available for funerals to families who did not have a church home. Another church offers grief support groups at different times during the year. And still another small church conducts recovery groups for alcoholics and their families.
Some of life’s unique crises are with us during this economic downturn — unemployment, under-employment job loss, foreclosure, homelessness, and retirement revisioning. Other crises occur no matter what the economic climate like births, family problems, marital issues, illnesses, aging and death. Churches that are meeting these needs in their communities are churches that are doing what they do best, helping folks find their way at a confusing and difficult crossroads of life.
So plan to join me for Outreach in the Crises of Life at NOC2010 on Friday, November 5 at 2:30 PM. I’m also facilitating another fun session that I always look forward to: The Small Church Ideas Exchange on Friday morning at 7:15 AM (hint: bring coffee!). See you at NOC2010!