The Outreach Committee strives to do God’s Will for those in need by sharing the gifts, talents, and service of the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square to support the “Gospel ministries and the ministries to The Least”
- One mission of the Outreach Committee is to prayerfully distribute locally, nationally, and globally, the gifts given by the members of the First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square.
- The Committee will seek to plan, develop, administer and implement the Benevolence Program, Souper Bowl Sunday, One Great Hour of Sharing, The Betty Palmer Scholarship, the Coat Drive, Blanket Sunday, Food for the Hungry Program, the Christmas Joy Offering, and other mission programs that may arise.
- The Committee will strive to encourage members of the First Presbyterian Church to be involved in “Hands on Ministry” locally within the community.
What does it mean to be a Missional Church?
A church with a mission program usually sees mission as one activity alongside many activities of the church: Christian education, worship, hospitality, and other programs. A church with a mission program might see mission as a specific line item in the budget, or the responsibility of a specific committee. A missional church focuses all of its activities around its participation in God’s mission in the world. That means: it trains people for discipleship and witness; its time spent in church is in service of the lives members lead in the world waiting outside the church. A missional church understands that we are, at the core of our being, “sent ones”; witnesses in the world of God’s saving love in Jesus Christ. Just as God sent Jesus, now Jesus sends the church (Jn. 20:21).
Many congregations already have begun the journey to become more missional, but have never recognized themselves as such. Other congregations make a distinction between witness outside the church and the rest of congregational life. The vision of a missional church invites all of the being and doing of the church to become shaped by what God intends for the world: the realization of the Kingdom of God through the proclamation and enactment of the Gospel. Where do we, the First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton Square, see ourselves?
Does being a missional church mean starting a lot of new activities? People in our congregation are already so busy.
A missional church does not necessarily do more outreach activities. In fact, a missional church may do fewer things better. To be a missional church means to discern how this particular congregation’s calling is aligned with God’s mission in the world. To be a missional church means to orient all of the life of the church around God’s mission. It will not necessarily mean cutting activities, adding a bunch of programs, re-inventing the wheel, or fixing things that are not broken. It will mean re-envisioning why we do the activities we do, and what/who we are working for.
Many missional congregations are growing in numbers, but church growth is not the central focus. More important than “making more church” (which was Christendom’s project) is becoming a church that leaves its own activities of worship, fellowship, church business, and study with a renewed passion for taking the love of Christ outside the church walls. The missional church vision is a way of understanding the true calling of the church. Rather than merely focusing on a congregation’s size, the missional church vision calls us to focus on the quality of our participation in the in-breaking of Kingdom of God. This will certainly mean inviting others to become part of the church community and often translates into church growth, even without growth as a primary motivation.
Does being a missional church mean that evangelism is more important than Christian education or worship?
No. The church must equip those that it sends. The purpose of the church is to proclaim and be a sign of the reign of God. A missional church is intentional about both its witness to those outside the community of faith and how its life together gives people a glimpse of God’s new reality. Within the church walls, we do discipleship, worship, and equipping. Outside of them, we put that equipping into practice through witness, charity, compassion, and love.
What connection does the missional church concept have with the unique situation churches are facing in North America?
Key to the identity of a missional church is being an alternative society within the dominant culture. When the church lives out the Gospel in the larger world, whether by loving enemies or welcoming those on the margins, it will be a contrast community in the eyes of the world. Many Christian traditions that had previously enjoyed a privileged status in the dominant North American culture no longer do. The missional church perspective offers important clues on how to be the church when not at the center of things. For the first time in over 1500 years, the church has the opportunity to be “the church” the way Jesus’ first followers were “the church”: as a minority community that lives as salt, light, and yeast in the world.