Off Site mission work opens many opportunities for serving the community and building identify among church members and their friends.
One church in North Carolina, for example, formed a Habitat for Humanity work crew led by retired men and staffed by a floating pool of church members and friends. They work on several houses a year and, at least once a year, sponsor an entire project themselves. After several years, group members have formed strong bonds, learned how to embrace new crew members, and given the congregation high visibility in the city. They have built all or part of over 30 houses, plus the recent addition of semi-annual Habitat work in El Salvador.
Another congregation sends a mission team every other summer to a Sioux reservation in South Dakota. Each trip involves both church members and friends, requires the entire congregation to raise funds, and builds enduring friendships across ethnic lines.
A New York City congregation has adopted an extended-stay center for homeless families. A few people work there every week, and large numbers of church members and friends do special events like a Christmas party and outfitting a library.
Whether your mission team works near home or travels to serve, the benefits are
- life-changing experiences
- reminding the entire congregation of its mission imperative
- providing a venue where members can invite friends
- engaging all sorts and conditions in providing logistical support
- communicating to all the congregation's values