-- I Corinthians 13:13
Charity work is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith. Whether it's through volunteering, donations, or providing a safe haven for those in need, the church remains a foundation of service in our neighborhoods and towns. What sorts of programs are you sponsoring to help others? What kind of resources and information do you have on hand to get your congregation engaged in other charitable efforts?
Chances are you've already established a number of community service programs through your church. If not, however, here are some ideas you might consider:
Set up a donation effort to provide emergency clothing, food, and rent assistance to those in need. You can raise funds through a direct mail campaign and gather items through a canned food or clothing drive. This sort of practical assistance is indispensable for communities, and is also often a hands-on introduction to the way Christians help those in need for those outside of the faith.
Another great way to practically help your community is to set up an employment resource for those in your congregation and town who are currently looking for work. Gather classified listings and work with local businesses to provide leads for job seekers. This will bring people from the community into the welcoming atmosphere of your church, reminding them of the selfless service that is such a hallmark of the Christian faith.
Christmas Present Drives
Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to provide all we'd wish for our families during the holidays. Seasonally, gathering donations of toys and other presents is a wonderful way to spread the joy and light of Christ's birth throughout your community.
Becoming a Beacon
Can your church become a beacon for good works in the community? The resounding answer is "Yes!" In addition to your own programs, spread the word about other programs that are doing all they can to help those in need. Are there local programs with which you could form a partnership? Are there national or international causes you feel strongly about?
Gather all the information you can on such organizations, and don't be shy about advertising their good works. This will draw service-minded individuals to your church and make you many friendships both inside and outside of the Christian faith. Jesus reminds us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and following this simple precept is a practical way of leading your community to a more service-oriented way of life.