Mobilizing Congregations for Community Ministry

Dudley, Carl S. and Sally A. Johnson. “Mobilizing Congregations for Community Ministry.” The Christian Ministry 20(2):31-33, March-April 1989.

Carl Dudley and Sally Johnson write “Mobilizing Congregations for Community Ministry” to share basic principles and processes developed through the Church and Community Project for leading local congregations to engage in community ministry. The two “critical components” for developing viable community ministries are the selection and preparation of key leaders and the formation of partnerships between the sponsoring church and other churches or institutions in the community. Key leaders include a lay chairperson as ministry organizer, the pastor as ministry interpreter and coach, and the historian/reporter as reflective observer of the congregation’s identity who helps identify how the new community ministry expresses that identity. The second component, that of partnering with other local groups, is risky because it can reduce the level of congregational commitment and forces the congregation to share authority. Yet sharing resources and skills among partnering groups makes the risk well worth it. As congregations begin reclaiming their heritage as community builders and service providers, Dudley and Johnston encourage them to bring change not only to individual lives but also to social systems as well.