Fleshing Out an Intensely Local Ministry

What does an “intensely local” ministry look like?

Revised from an earlier post:
Our vision at Trinity Church for the future. This is what we would like to see happen in the thirty towns from which our congregations  are composed.

Radical Church Planting-3For our movement in central Illinois, it means being immersed in our neighborhood, connected to our neighbors and invested in their concerns.

“When we say that we are immersed in our neighborhood we mean that we view ourselves as chaplains, care givers, and disciplers to and for the neighborhoods in which we live,” said one second career leader I talked to. “All of us are looking and praying for opportunities to love and serve our neighbors everyday.”

Here’s the big picture. All of our house groups start out small, sometimes with only two couples. The two couples usually live within a mile of one another. They each begin to pray intensely for the five neighbors that surround them. They then look for ways to serve and share the gospel not only with those households, but anyone with whom they have opportunity in the neighborhood. It’s that simple, but by the grace of God, it works.

How? –what do they do to serve the neighborhood? One home groups, gathers once a month to prayer walk the neighborhood and each member carries a small grocery bag as they walk. They use the bags to pick up any trash, glass, paper and just care for the neighborhood. People notice, conversations start and relationships are begun. Another member of the home group put an extra mail-box at the street and painted it green. Then they leafleted the neighborhood and told all their neighbors that the second mail box was for prayer requests that anyone might want to share.

Another group may find out that there were two widows on the block. They begin to reach out and care for the widows doing simple chores like cutting the lawn or shoveling snow, trimming trees or planting flowers. These kindnesses shown result in new opportunities to talk about the difference that Christ makes in a life.

On another block, there might be twenty kids between 8 and 14 and they are always playing in the street. It has been a simple thing for a brother to play basketball with them, teach them how to throw a football, play catch with a baseball or mediate their sometimes loud kickball games in front of his house.

We try to be intensely local. We want to know what is going on in our neighborhoods and we want to be truly connected to our neighbors and invested in our community.

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