Tailored Ministries: 4 Churches' Innovations in Meeting Different Needs

A big empty church
A big empty church
By Li ShiguangApril 18th, 2024

Different churches target different groups of people. Some churches are located in high-tech zones or development zones, where there are many young people. Some are in densely populated residential areas, where the congregants tend to be older. Others are situated in industrial areas surrounded by factories, making it easier to attract migrant workers and laborers. The following are positive explorations of four churches in serving believers or attracting newcomers.

Establishing a restaurant to ensure believers are well-fed to worship 

Pastor Chen serves full-time in a prosperous city in south China, where people are also very busy. He found that many believers didn't even have time to eat because they came straight from work to gatherings without time to eat. They only ate after gatherings or went home to cook. 

Feeling concerned about it, he realized that it was difficult for them to worship God intently on an empty stomach. So, when the church was renovated, he proposed and opened a kitchen and restaurant. All pastors, church workers, or believers, can eat for free at designated times. 

Initially, many people objected, thinking that running a kitchen and restaurant with legal procedures and operations would be troublesome and distract the church from its mission. However, after the kitchen and restaurant have been opened, Christians have not been in as great a hurry as before. After work, they can come to the church and enjoy clean and hygienic meals, then attend the services devotionally. This is also beneficial to people's faith and spirituality.

Providing funeral services for elderly believers 

Having many senior members, the church Pastor Qian serves in, has launched a funeral ministry. Qian said that initially, they started this ministry out of necessity. When elderly members passed away, they requested that the church conduct funeral services. Responding to their requests, the church established the funeral ministry. 

This ministry has been going on for many years now. Initially, the funeral service was only limited to deceased members of their own church, with the entire family being believers for consensus in conducting funeral services. However, as they continued, many non-believing family members also wanted the church to conduct the Christian funeral for their Christian relatives. Because if conducted according to local customs, it would cost much money, effort, and time. Moreover, they found the church choir performances to be quite enjoyable and dignified, not embarrassing at all. 

As the church's funeral service is doing well, many believers from other local churches also contact them to host Christian funerals.

Helping believers solve marriage problems with God's words and related courses

Brother Wang's church pastors many young people in the surrounding area, especially many single young people in their twenties. There is a great demand for pre-marriage counseling among many people. For many single young people, marriage is a big concern for them. Wang said he found that some young people came to the church just to find a mate. If they could not find the right person in one church, they would continue to search in another church until they found a compatible spouse.

Therefore, in pastoral care, his church appropriately leans towards young people. They offer some preparatory courses for marriage, helping single believers clarify their views on marriage, find suitable partners, and establish Christ-centered families.

Wang declared that a considerable number of contemporary young Christians lack a solid foundation in the Bible and often deviate from the teachings outlined in the Bible.

Many believers do not know what is God's teaching on marriage, while others who do have such knowledge do not really agree with it. As a result, even self-professed Christian adherents may evaluate their fellow brethren based on societal norms.

This phenomenon is prominent among Christian women, who frequently establish a plethora of criteria. They not only want their partners to meet Christian benchmarks but also demand adherence to societal standards. It's difficult for young people to enter into marriage smoothly with such high demands.

To correct such a misconception, Wang believes it is up to the church to lead unmarried believers back to the righteousness of God through the Word.

Opening casual restaurants with diverse activities to attract young people

A Christian man surnamed Luo leads a church surrounded by many young people, with the idea of attracting them to come to church. He urged that if churches wanted to attract young people, they must adapt and change their youth ministry strategies according to the needs of young people.

"For example, young people are generally interested in music, so churches can attract them with music, pictures, and comics and build a relationship with them first before ministering to them."

The church has also specially set up a leisure restaurant for young people. After coming to the church, they can learn to play musical instruments, draw pictures, use exercise equipmen, and eat for free.

"Before we preach the gospel to the young people, we want them to like the church by making them feel that they are loved here and that the church is different from the outside world," he added. 

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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