In Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Thom Rainer explores consistent themes among churches that have died. Then, in response to those themes, and most importantly, he walks the reader through the “radical paths necessary to keep the church alive to the glory of God.” One of the consistent themes he discovered was that dying churches refused to look like or minister to their community. He found that people in the pew were more concerned about protecting the way they did church than reaching residents of their community.
Chuck Lawless reports from his findings that one common denominator among “healthy growing churches in America” was that they were externally focused on the needs of others rather than themselves. If churches are going to grow and their message be heard by the community – most are going to have to re-establish trust. They are going to have to first show their ability to love their community and meet them at their point of need.
I’ve consulted with churches that were dying – and stubbornly, many have refused to be involved in their community and were only concerned about maintaining their “fort”. In these situations, it’s only a matter of time before death comes because the church no longer has a heart for ministry in their own community. It’s not enough that the church building sits in the community. Buildings and property don’t change lives, restore families and transform communities – Jesus does. And He is present in the church body which is supposed to be present and active in the community! Vibrant and growing churches are interested in their communities and consider the needs of others above their own (Phil 2:1-4).
Churches that wish to be growing and healthy will discover ways to reach outward into their communities. One effective way to do this is through an “Operation Inasmuch Day”. Inasmuch Kentucky is a one day mission blitz by the church in their local community. It is an inter-generational event mobilizing Christians to heal some of the hurts of a neighborhood or an entire community.
Churches can choose to do an Operation Inasmuch day at any time. However, as part of a statewide initiative, Kentucky Baptist Convention churches are challenged to choose a day in September of 2015 to participate. Training opportunities are being provided throughout the state during March and April to equip churches for Inasmuch Kentucky.
How exciting it would be if churches across the Commonwealth decided to show their faith by their works. Imagine what an impact it would make for the Kingdom if the community saw the church leaving the seats and going to the streets to serve “the least of these”.
Not only is Inasmuch Kentucky a day of helping people at their need, it also…
• encourages sharing the love of Christ with the community
• strengthens fellowship and builds relationships in the church
• gives believers an opportunity to use one’s personal gifts in missions
For more information, training opportunities or resources on Inasmuch Kentucky, visit www.kybaptist.org/inasmuch www.operationinasmuch.org