Community Ministry: New Challenges, Proven Steps to Faith-Based Initiatives

by Carl S. Dudley. The Alban Institute, 2002.

Carl Dudley begins this readable and practical resource with a frank look at recent social and political changes that have created both challenges and opportunities for churches establishing social ministries in the U.S. today. He then outlines the product of his 25 years of work with congregations: a four-part model for effectively sharing God’s love in practical ways in the community. Rather than a set of hard and fast rules, the process Dudley outlines is one that encourages—even requires—a congregation to consider its own uniqueness. Through a series of simple steps, Dudley guides readers through a process designed to help them better understand their own community’s character and needs, enhance their awareness of their congregation’s strengths, discover their calling, and build relationships with other organizations who share a similar mission or vision. Other congregations’ experiences are cited throughout the text to illustrate key points, provide examples of various types of social ministry, and inspire action and innovation. Dudley rounds out this practical manual with checklists, sample questions, and lists of printed resources and Web links for those wishing to learn more. Any congregation called to community ministry will find invaluable tools here.