What does your church do for people? Probably more than you think.
Every Monday morning, pastors are ready to walk away from ministry.
It's easy for us to forget how incredibly helpful the local church is in shaping and benefiting people's lives.
Last week I heard from a couple whose trajectory was completely changed by what they learned in New Song's Financial Peace class. Today they have less debt, less tension, more hope, more discipline and more skills to apply to so many areas of their lives.
I walked away thinking, "We have hundreds of families who are out of debt or on their way. Offering Financial Peace may be the greatest favor our church has ever done for people."
Then a saner thought came to me: financial peace is far down the list of favors a church offers people!
I thought of nine even more valuable benefits people regularly receive at church.
9 Things Churches Do for People
The next time you question your church's impact—like on Monday—remind yourself of these things.
1. We introduce people to Jesus.
People come to Christ in local churches in far greater numbers than anywhere else.
Knowing Jesus is an eternity-changer. Peace, forgiveness, purpose, hope and heaven come from Him.
2. We teach people to read Scripture.
Learning to read the Bible is like learning another language. The most important one!
Scripture is God's native tongue. Without it, we know only what God says through natural revelation. It's like visiting Mexico with five phrases of Spanish.
Earth's experiences are immeasurably richer when you know what God is saying to you.
3. We teach people to pray.
Reading the Bible lets you listen to God. Praying lets you talk to Him.
I've never done the survey, but I'll bet if you talked to 10 men on the street, eight of them would say they would rather have direct access to God's ears for whatever was troubling them than a healthy Financial Peace bank statement.
4. We teach people to serve.
Jesus said He came not to be served, but to serve. So we teach people to approach others with a humble attitude and meet needs when possible.
We teach people about spiritual gifts, and the rewards available in heaven to those who faithfully use their gifts to further God's cause. Though it's counter-intuitive, service reaps invaluable benefits in the character of the servant. That's quite a favor!
5. We teach people to share their faith.
Not only does evangelism introduce others to Jesus, in Philemon 6, Paul points out that our understanding of God's goodness is expanded when we share our faith. It's a perspective-changer that's priceless.
6. We teach people to give.
Giving opens people to otherwise unattainable spiritual and material blessings. It breaks the hold of greed and it opens the floodgates of heaven.
Imagine how shallow your life would be if you didn't know how to give.
7. We welcome people into an extended family.
A few weeks after New Song went public, people began saying, "You know, I have lived in this area for nine years and never knew anyone. Now when I go to the grocery store, I'm starting to see new friends I know from church. I finally feel like I'm at home in this community."
Good churches are like good families. Older relatives wrap their arms around the hurting and counsel those in need. Small group members become brothers and sisters. Peers provide babysitting. Singles get invited to homes for the holidays.
8. We build values into their children.
Fifty-two weekends a year, while adults are learning about Scripture, prayer, serving and giving, their children are learning lessons about faith and honesty and courage.
As a young dad, if I could have only asked for one favor, it would have been that somebody would help me raise great children.
The church does this better than any other institution in the world.
9. We strengthen marriages.
For most married couples, the spousal relationship is both their greatest joy and biggest challenge.
I've heard dozens of people say they would pay any price for a good marriage.
Churches provide classes and counseling, encouragement and exhortation, practical teaching and principled reasoning on how couples can love each other well. Another priceless favor!
Churches are a gift to their communities.
I concluded from my little epiphany that my church does incredible favors for people!
As does your church... and the other 5 million churches in the world.
Most of us have just never thought much about it. When we do, we tend to take the benefits people get from church for granted.
Let me encourage you, Pastor: a healthy local church is a priceless gift to your community.
If you'll take three minutes, I'll bet you can come up with your own list of what your church does for people. And when you do, be encouraged, and thank God for your church and all the ministry you do.
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. Hal mentors pastors to lead healthy, growing churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at pastormentor.com.
This article originally appeared at pastormentor.com.
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