Congregation Social Service Outreach Ministry
Funding Goal: To positively impact the lives of hurting people by strengthening the capacity of and supporting congregations in becoming an integral part of the health and well-being of their community.
PLEASE NOTE: Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis does NOT provide direct assistance to individuals. Funding is provided to area organizations who, in turn, work directly with individuals.
At the Last Supper, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet before they ate. He did this to “set you an example that you should do as I have done for you . . . Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17) Jesus’ act of servanthood modeled the lifestyle he desires for churches and Christians today.
Congregations act as a powerful force in modeling Christ’s servant leadership through social service outreach ministries. As Christians, our faith in the Gospel compels us to serve our neighbors, just as Jesus did. We don’t have to travel far to see people in need; the mission field is ripe in our own back yards.
Lutheran Foundation has provided a significant portion of our grant awards over the past nearly three decades to area congregations to carry out these important social service outreach ministries. Over the years, we have helped churches launch or grow food pantries, after-school programs, homeless outreach services, counseling programs, parish nurse ministries, and much more – all of which minister to those in need. Through our new strategic funding plan, we are continuing to focus our funding on encouraging congregations to reach out to their surrounding communities through organized, effective social service outreach ministry efforts.
We look to accomplish this in two ways:
- Supporting congregational service outreach ministry activities through the provision of planning and program implementation grants.
- Strengthening the ability of congregations to engage in social service outreach ministry activities through coaching assistance, mentoring, and training (through Send Me St. Louis).
Lutheran Foundation has found, through our own funding experience and external research, six factors that contribute to a successful congregational social service outreach ministry:
- A vision to serve the community, not just the congregation;
- Strong initial planning for the project and congregation buy-in;
- Strong, effective leadership (both lay and clergy) which motivates and inspires others to share actively in a project(s);
- A good fit (skills, interests, and leadership) between those involved and the target population/community;
- Ability to understand and communicate with the target population/community; and
- Ongoing congregational participation in implementing the outreach project(s).
To learn more about our updated strategic funding plan, click here.