"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
How does a congregation best serve its own neighborhood? This practical guide for congregations and parishes addresses this question by reviewing the growth of the ecumenically oriented community ministry movement in recent years. David Bos believes the typical "community ministry" rising from that movement possesses three vital and energizing characteristics: it is congregation-based and very local; it is a social ministry that sees issues through the prism of its own community; and it is ecumenical. He focuses on community ministry as a particular way of ministering to society, in which congregations of more than one denomination and of a particular locality (neighborhood, small town, rural county) share goals and resources. Bos sees community ministry as a local social ministry in which congregations respond in faith, hope, and love to the neighborhood, town, or rural county that they have as an immediate context for ministry.