Effective Mission Work: Empowering Those We Serve

Effective Mission Work: Empowering Those We Serve


New dates have been announced for this workshop after a weather cancellation.  The workshop takes place February 12 in Indianapolis and February 13 in Evansville. The Evansville venue is now Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

Serving others is a staple of congregational life. Many congregations reach out to those in need locally and nationally. Therefore, it is important for congregational leaders to understand charitable practices, assess their effectiveness and apply new ideas and actions to build healthy relationships, diminish poverty and promote self-sufficiency.

A leader in Christian community development, Robert D. Lupton facilitates this workshop. The day includes three relevant and informative sessions:

Session I: Unintended Consequences
Why do the poor remain poor in spite of the enormous sums of money, resources and time we invest attempting to relieve poverty? This session is a candid examination of current charitable practices. This discussion includes both public and private charity and pays specific attention to congregation-based initiatives, including feeding/clothing ministries, local weekend service projects and short-term mission trips. In this session, participants will gain an understanding of how charitable practices can help and how they can do harm.

Session II: Fundamentals for Effective Involvement
This session presents core principles that guide compassionate service toward empowering the poor. Real life models and methods of effective ministry offer instructive examples of ways to alleviate poverty through partnering with, rather than doing for, those in need. Practical criteria for assessing return on investment (ROI) provide objective measures for evaluating results. A Hippocratic-type “Oath for Compassionate Service” gives essential information for would-be helpers. Participants will learn the essential principles of empowering service and how to assess the effectiveness of charitable activity and the appropriate application.

Session III: Transitioning from Service to Development
Altering a well-established ministry paradigm, especially one that has passionate support, is no small challenge. It is even more difficult when such practices are backed by a compelling body of scripture. Such change is delicate business and, handled insensitively, can be volatile and divisive. This session offers effective strategies for moving a congregation along a continuum from giving to exchanging to lending to investing – a progression from dependency to self-sufficiency. Also proposed are significant changes in marketing, recruiting and focus for service/mission work that yield lasting impacts with greater integrity. Participants will learn how to evaluate current practices, discuss effective strategies for moving their ministries from dependency to development and apply these change strategies

Robert D. Lupton is founder and president of FCS Urban Ministries (Focused Community Strategies) and the author of Theirs Is the Kingdom; Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life; Toxic Charity and the widely circulated "Urban Perspectives."

The workshop is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Eastern time) on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at Faith Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Central time) Thursday, February 13, 2014 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Evansville. The cost is $30 per person (or $25 per person for congregational teams of three or more registered together). The fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and a copy of Lupton’s book Toxic Charity. Events are limited to Indiana congregations.