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!
Outreach in the Crises of Life is the title of the workshop I’ll be hosting at the National Outreach Convention in San Diego, November 3-5, 2010. This will be my 4th year speaking at NOC, and I’m looking forward to addressing this topic of reaching out to others during a life crisis.
I’m convinced that caring outreach is the most neglected opportunity for outreach for any church, large or small. But small churches particularly can reach out to those who are hurting with caring and redemptive ministry. And, one of the benefits is that this type of ministry is low-cost, relational, needed, and highly effective.
Life crises include sickness, death and grief, loss, trauma, divorce, crime, moving, job loss, loss of mobility or independence, and a host of other life incidents. I’ll be talking about when we can offer care to those outside our church, and presenting examples of churches that are involved in caring outreach during a life crisis. I hope you’ll be able to join us in November.
I know it seems early to be thinking about November, but that’s only 5 months away. Plan now to join us. If you’ve never been to NOC, you’ve got to experience it to believe the breadth of resources, and the variety of presenters that equip church leaders to effectively reach out to their communities. See you there!
I like to think they saved the best for last. My seminar, Small Church, Big Impact: Creating Missional Partnerships in Your Community was the last seminar of the day today. We had a room full of small church folks who were interested in the story of what God is doing in our little town of Chatham, Virginia.
You can see a few photos from the National Outreach Convention by clicking on my web album here. And for those interested in the powerpoint of the presentation, as I promised, it’s right here —Small Church, Big Impact powerpoint. Feel free to share it with your church leaders. You can go to About Chuck Warnock on this blog, and find links that tell more of the story of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it here in Chatham. Also, for those in the seminar and interested in some of the resources that have shaped our journey, click on the Resource page link. I hope our story is an encouragement to your ministry, wherever you are.
Debbie and I are headed back to Virginia tomorrow. The folks at Outreach Inc. were very kind to invite us to come out to share our story, and I appreciate it. NOC07 is history, but we’ll be back in 2008. Hope you’ll join us!