Adventist Community Services of South Central Conference is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is one of the most exciting ways you can be involved in your community or city in a practical Christian way by caring for and showing compassion to the disadvantaged and meeting the needs of our community and our neighbors. As national crises increase and people’s needs become more complex, we seek to provide hope, motivation, dignity, self respect and healing to our surrounding communities through our local church based ministries.
Six major areas of Adventist Community Service
- Community Development/Urban Ministry/Inner City Ministries provides relief, educational and development services.
- Crisis Care provides specific training for counseling survivors of disasters and other life crises.
- Disaster Response helps survivors of natural disasters reclaim their lives.
- Elder Care meets are seniors’ specific needs with specialized programs.
- Tutoring and Mentoring encourages education and mentoring for disadvantaged children.
- Youth Empowered to Serve encourages youth to begin a life of serving to others.
Duties of the Local Church Community Services Leader
Discovering the needs of the community
A needs assessment of your area should be completed every two or three years by visual inspection; by talking with police, fire, mental health, and welfare authorities; by reviewing the news media; and by conducting surveys. A methodology for conducting a community survey has been published in chapter four of Ministries of Compassion (AdventSource 1994).
Mobilizing a response to specific concerns
It is your responsibility to help your church identify social concerns to which it feels called to respond. Usually this decision will be made in the outreach or personal ministries committee. Once the decision is made you will have the task of getting the word out and rousing the congregation to action. To learn how to mobilize and organize the church members for outreach, see Ministries of Compassion, chapter three.
Organization of programs
You will be asked to recruit volunteers and arrange details of disaster relief programs, entry events (activities through which non-members participate for the first time in a church-sponsored activity), and other social action projects. These will include health screening, aid for the poor, literacy and employment assistance, and inner city programs.
The community services leader is asked to work with other organizations in the community so the church does not duplicate services. Contracts have been negotiated at national levels with the Red Cross and government agencies specifying what Adventist Community Services will do in the event of major disasters and related to certain social problems. Similar agreements are needed in your area. This may mean that you, or someone you appoint, will meet regularly with inter-agency committees to represent the Adventist Church.
You are the person the congregation expects to keep it posted about Adventist Community Services activities, as well as provide information on current issues. This means that you will want to utilize the personal ministries time once a month (as outlined in denominational policy), prepare announcements for the bulletin and church newsletter, and distribute a comprehensive statistical report at least once a year. Since the yearly “ACS Inner City Offering” appeal is a major source of funds for community services, the community service leader will want to be involved.