Recently J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, NC asked the question, “Should Evangelical Churches Be Involved in Community Ministry and if so, WHY?” His great answer begins:
Our church is committed to physically blessing whatever area we are trying to plant churches in. By that I mean not only do we want to see churches planted, we want to see the improvement of local education, health, and politics, and standards of living, and see the decrease of crime and poverty. We engage in projects to those ends. We don’t do this as a bait and switch, as if it’s just a gimmick to get people to trust Jesus. Part of the Gospel is loving our neighbor whether or not they ever trust Jesus. As a friend of mine says, “We don’t serve to convert, we serve because we are converted.”
Thankfully, a lot of evangelical churches today are re-embracing the need to love their world soul AND body. However, they don’t always seem to agree on the reason behind why we do it. Some have never put much thought to it. There seems to be a theological haze around evangelical community ministry.
J.D. goes on to explain four different ways evangelicals have been looking at what he calls “Community Ministry.” I think he makes some very good points. I recommend reading his full blog post.