More Than Mission Forays
Off Site ministries will include mission work, but they need to go far beyond it. In Off Site ministries, the congregation engages with its neighbors, declares solidarity with them, and seeks to know them as friends, not as mission recipients.
This will come naturally to some congregations and be quite new to others. In some mainline congregations, people have had generous hearts but have often viewed outside constituencies as "projects" and not as social or religious equals. For Off Site ministries to succeed, church members will need to set aside any attitude of noblesse oblige and learn to relax around people who might be quite different.
In learning to respect other ethnic traditions, speak other languages and identify with others' needs, church members will grow closer to God. Church members might find themselves out of step with their social circles, but that won't be all bad. Friendships in Christ tend to matter more than friendships of class or kind.
Discovering believers and seekers outside the Sunday body will deepen church members' faith and awaken the seeker in them.