Building a Church Safety Net
Kevin Ford, in his book Transforming Church1 has pointed out that, in our culture, the consumer is the center. Individualism has been present in our nation since the founding. This sense of the individual, and the consumer mindset that has accompanied it, has found its way into the church.
We are constantly called, in the Christian world, to a life in community. And yet we reside in a culture that pulls us decidedly in the opposite direction. When people are connected, they tend to see themselves as partners in the life, ministry, people, and mission of the church. When they don’t feel connected, they tend to have a consumer mindset. A healthy community is one where people experience deep relationships and feel personally connected to the church’s purpose. So how do we go about building community? Bearing each other’s burdens? Becoming intentionally involved in each other’s lives? Churches are filled with people with many needs: spiritual, psychological, relational, and physical. Churches are also filled with people who are uniquely gifted and resourced to meet those needs. An excellent strategy for building community while at the same time bearing one another’s burdens and exercising the gifts in each member is to develop a Lay Pastoral Care Ministry (LPCM).
Let’s build on what we’ve already said about church culture, how to change it, and especially how to help congregants recognize, develop, and deploy their gifts.
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