By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
Over the last several decades, our nation and the world have evolved into shocking levels of chaos. There is so much hatred, division, persecution, injustice, starvation, devastation, hopelessness, and lack of love for each other. Never has there been a time when the Body of Christ is needed more than in these days. The hope we offer through Christ is the answer the world is looking for. But that means our churches have to be more strategic about how we reach those who are not yet believers.
1. Lose the judgmental attitude.
Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten where we came from. We were not born into the Kingdom of God, nor did we just wake up one day as Christians without doing anything. We had to make a choice to recognize our sins and need for a Savior, then ask Jesus into our hearts. That day of acceptance is always a beautiful time of joy as we begin to fully recognize what Jesus has done for us. Sadly, some of us forget how wretched we truly are and become comfortable looking down at others that we deem less important, significant, or worthy.
2. Open a single mom’s ministry.
It is suggested that the single-parent family is the fastest-growing demographic in our country. According to the U.S. Current Population Survey, the number of single-parent-led homes has more than doubled since 1951. Yet, two out of three single mothers do not attend a local church regularly, suggesting numbers upwards of 9 million unchurched single mothers. A single mom’s ministry gives these mothers a place to belong, network, grow in Christ, and further expands the opportunity to witness to the 25 million children they are raising in the United States today.
3. Create a welcoming environment with love, grace, and compassion.
People appreciate authenticity. Your journey may look different than someone new to your church. Perhaps you have no earthly idea what it feels like to be a recovering addict, orphaned, or battle through a terrible divorce. Maybe you have never experienced the immense financial, physical, and emotional challenges associated with cancer treatment. However, you can still exhibit compassion and love towards others who are not quite like you. Treat others the way you want them to treat you, with love and kindness.
4. Remember, we are not holier-than-thou.
Our righteousness is as filthy rags unto the Lord. (Isaiah 64:6)
In other words, we could never do enough to earn salvation; it is a gift God gives to us. We are sinners saved by God’s grace. It is only through Jesus that we are saved. We are not better than others. We are not more holy because we attend church more often than others. We are not more holy because our prayers sound more eloquent than others. We are not holy through anything we do. When we understand how much we are in need of God’s daily grace, it allows us to treat others with kindness.
5. Evaluate your ministry opportunities.
Survey the location of your church. What is the community demographic? Are there a lot of young people in the area? What does your youth ministry look like? Is there a college campus nearby? If so, does your church have a college ministry? Is there a large elderly population? How do you care for seniors and widows in the community?
6. Become service-minded.
Jesus washed the feet of the disciples as a beautiful, awe-inspiring example of pure servanthood. When we reach out to serve others who are not yet part of any congregation, we are showing them that they matter, are seen, and are loved by God. There are many great servant-minded churches across the nation that are working to see that their communities' needs are met. What can your church do to reach others?
7. Be open to change.
The gospel never changes. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Those things don’t ever change. The Good News is always good news! But we cannot get stuck in doing things the same way, just because we have “always done it this way.” Just because women’s ministry has always met on Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm does not mean it needs to continue. Be willing to evaluate programs and ministries and accept the creativity of others who may have God-led ideas.
8. Lose the competitive spirit.
There is no competition in the Kingdom. Celebrate the successes of the church across town. Celebrate the wins for the Kingdom. It is a huge turn-off for potential believers when they see churches downgrading each other or becoming critical. They see enough of that in the world.
9. Recognize that relationship comes before ministry.
Sometimes, we are much more concerned with “fixing” everyone, beating them over the head with the Bible, and highlighting all the things they are doing wrong than we are with showing them how much God loves them. It is not our job as Christians to fix anyone. It is our job to point them to the One who can. We should be focusing on establishing relationships in the community, guide them to the fixer, and let God do the rest.
10. Do not expect anything in return.
Whether it is a service project you are doing in the community or a financial gift issued from a benevolence fund to assist a needy community member, release the need without expecting something in return. While it is a beautiful thing when someone we have served gives us a genuine, heartfelt thank you, it is not necessary. Our service to others and our commitment to do for others is about what Christ has already done for us. Nothing more.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Malcolm Lightbody
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.
The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.