The temptation to focus only on their own internal problems and issues is powerful for congregations. Without realizing it, even churches that have a long tradition of outreach and social involvement become centered on issues of institutional survival and preservation. Worst of all are congregations that adopt a "fortress mentality," addressing the larger community rarely, and only in the "language of Zion" when they do. This tendency to isolation and insularity flies directly in the face of the gospel imperative to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Christian congregations exist as God’s redeeming presence in the communities in which they are located. If churches are to live as though they take that seriously, they must learn to give themselves away to the community. The focus of every ministry and program must be to reach and make disciples of the unchurched.
In this book, Paul Nixon paints a picture of what community based ministry is all about. Drawing on his experiences within a congregation that has seen twenty-five years of increased worship attendance, he lays out practical steps that churches can take to plant themselves firmly within the lives of the communitites they serve. He demonstrates how churches can organize their facilities to become community centers, establish multiple locations for ministry throughout the community, and empower every member to become a minister of the congregation. Written with an infectious sense of hope, this book will become a critical tool for church leaders seeking to transform their congregations into outward-looking bodies of witness.