Each congregation of Jesus-followers in a community should, on a regular basis, be asking the question, “Why does our community need a congregation like ours?” By asking this question on a regular basis, the congregation continues to seek to have its finger on the heartbeat and condition of the community. This will then help guide the refining of how the mission is carried out.
For example, about two years ago, First Baptist began something called, “Wheels of Hope.” It was discovered that individuals live in this community for whom transportation is an obstacle for getting ahead. Precious, and in short supply, money was being spent on transportation costs, such as a taxi or bus fare, that really needed to be spent on food, shelter, and other basic needs.
So, because we wanted to share the reality of God’s love and goodness, we began to use our van and personal vehicles to assist people who are in poverty situations with overcoming the obstacle of transportation. From this, we have provided transportation to clients of organizations like Early Head Start and the YWCA. We have provided transportation to places like the grocery store, job interviews, work shifts, organizational events, medical appointments, and GED classes. (We have helped four ladies successfully complete their GED by providing transportation to and from class.) If there is another group in this community, be it another congregation or otherwise, who is providing this type of thing for the reasons we have done so to those who too often fall through the cracks, I am unaware of it.
There is even a potential opportunity for us to use the van to help elementary students, whose parents are unable to do so, get to summer school this summer.
Through all of this, I believe this congregation, at least for now, has discovered why this community needs a congregation like this one. And from this, additional opportunities to share about God’s love and goodness and presented themselves.
All because of asking the question, “Why does this community need a congregation like ours?” and then the Holy Spirit saying, “Well, let me share with you some things.”