Recently the owner of the Dallas Cowboys was quoted saying “You can’t write a check and get to the superbowl.” Coming from a man who spent a billion dollars on a stadium, that is a shocking revelation. But it’s true. Getting to the Superbowl is hard work. It takes good players who play well every Sunday. Its not a matter of who has the prettiest uniforms, the best stadium or the highest paid players. In the end, there is no check to write that will give a football team success. The players still have to play well and win the game.
Its true for the average church as well. There are no shortcuts. Ministry is hard work and takes endurance to do effectively. If you pastor an average church you probably face the reality of limited resources. Many pastors believe if they only had more money, they could truly do something for the kingdom of God. Effective work in ministry does take money. But ultimately money is not the issue.
Early in my first year of ministry, I was overwhelmed by our financial situation. We were digging out of a hole and there were days I wanted to just cry because we had some big needs but little means. I thought that if we could only get some more money, we could really do great things. A few months later, we received a generous donation from an outside source. It was just what we needed to do some updates, pay off some debts and invest in some things we desperately needed. Our prayers were answered. We had more money, but it didn’t help us reach any more people. We got better as a church, but we didn’t reach more people. Over the next year, our income slowly grew to a more comfortable place. But it didn’t help us reach any more people.
We had to decide we were going to invest ourselves and the little that we did have to do as much to reach people as we could. Money wasn’t our problem. If we were to wait until we had enough money, we would never do anything. Eventually, we found little ways to reach out. Backpacks for back to school. We did a block party for a local neighborhood that only cost us $150 but made a huge impact. We did a kids day at a local apartment complex that cost us very little. What it took was a willingness for us to get out there, to find a need and meet it. We passed out water a local parade. Hosted a marriage seminar. Participated in our city’s biggest events in one way or another. We did a pool party for at an apartment complex. Most of what we did was donated but we used the little we had as well.
In 2013 we 16 outreaches (I still cant believe we did that!). We estimate that those touched 1,600 people in our community. And we spent less than $3000 on all of them (that was up from $600 in 2012 and 0$ in 2011). That averages out to less than $200 per outreach. I know sometimes an average church doesn’t have $200 to spare. But find something you can do to reach out.
Its not about writing a check. It is about being willing to go do something. The key to success for the average church is a willingness to do what you can with what you have. You can find ways to impact your community and make it better. You might find that reaching out isn’t as expensive as it looks.
For more information on small ways to serve your community without costing you a lot, check out these ideas on servant evangelism. http://www.servantevangelism.com/