Let me use the following extracts to share with people who are lost in the woods while serving their church and community.
“The point of ministry is to point people to Christ.”
Following mainstream activities can be an issue in conflict with the essence of pointing people to Christ. I have a friend who lives and attends church in one of developed nation – The Lion City State. He expressed that some churches tend to overly involved in community services and up to a point, start to conceal even their identity in order to be involved. The main reason being that the local authority on one hand encouraging religious organizations to actively participate in community services, yet the law forbids such entities to preach their respective religion to the masses. The city state remains a multi-racial society and nation. This is to prevent any conflict of spreading different religions. There is nothing wrong with that.
When a church’s ministry steps into such sensitive ground of doing community services, it is important to learn to be “right on target”. What does it means? Let’s follow the basic rule here,
(1) It is alright to provide for the poor and needy, at the same time maintaining the identity of Christianity. i.e. the church provides its resources helping the community. That’s all. It does not involve preaching of religion in this case.
(2) Be sensitive of conducting public activities without breaking the law.
(3) When holding activities in the church premises with its members and community folks, rituals and tradition are valuable and help to point people to Christ. It is not right to use church premises to conduct too many social and cultural activities under the name of community services, and eventually lost its identity. Church is church, not a community centre.
Maintaining a clear sense of calling – Pointing People to Christ is the core of christianity. Provide for the poor & needy is but one of the roles of christians, not the highest calling.
“There is no shortage of people who will participate in community services and religion, but there are few who will point people to Christ.”