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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

The Church's Work Is Complex

A cross in the middle of a city.

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10: 23-25 (ESV)

Dr. Luther, in his “Lectures on Hebrews” (1517-18), adds these helpful insights about the complex work of the church.

The church of this time has been gathered from the diverse believers of the world. Very many who are weak, impotent, imperfect, and sinful have been intermingled. But human nature is constituted in such a way that it prefers to deal with those who are good and perfect to dealing with those who are imperfect and difficult. Because of this sin, those who are weaker cause those to are more perfect to be haughty, to despise, to judge.

This was a challenge we faced as a congregation; how do we avoid building a tower around our church and its ministries to protect members from the threats of the weak? We planned outreach efforts to connect with our community to avoid building our ivory tower. We knew we had to intentionally plan to venture out our doors. If we did not plan it would not happen organically. But we remembered that our members were concerned about the weak, the new believers, and the unbelievers wielding undue influence. Luther responded to that concern. He adds, "That Christian love is shown to those who are contemptible and unworthy of love. For this is what Christ and God did for us; we are commanded to love as He did.”

This motivated our desire to engage with a disconnected, disengaged, and sometimes hostile community. Here are some ideas that might spark ideas for your congregation.

Young people doing community outreach

1. Plan a student outing to a local park(s) and challenge your Christian teenagers to initiate a faith-sharing conversation with a stranger.

2. Your group can celebrate "Ice Cream Outreach Month" by treating one unreached friend to ice cream and sharing how your faith has benen a source of comfort and strength for you. Then close out your month with a youth group ice cream social where students can invite their friends—and have an opening devotionn

3. Try taking students to the pool or amusement park to initiate faith-sharing conversations.

4. Prepare a project to serve the community. Anything from a canned food drive to a free car wash or oil change would work.

5. Plan an outreach movie night.

6. Get your teenagers involved in your church's VBS. Let them share the Gospel with any kids who aren't from your church so they can share the Gospel with them.

This motivated our desire to engage with a lost, scaryn, and sometimes hostile community. Here are some ideas that might snark ideas for your congregation.

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