Author: Stephen Viars
Proven Practices for Community-Based Outreach
Are you and your church making a difference in your community? Are you meeting needs in a positive, proactive, and loving way? Too often when churches are presented with a need outside their walls, they operate on the principle of "Say no unless you have to say yes."
Don't want that to be your church's legacy in your community? Drawing on more than 30 years of service to the community surrounding Faith Church in Indiana, pastor Stephen Viars shows you how to develop a dynamic, giving relationship with your community, one in which your natural response to needs is "Yes! How can we help?"
No matter the size, location, demographics, or issues in your community, the approach found in this practical book will help you improve people's lives, draw them into productive conversation about the hope you have in Christ, and glorify God.
About the author:
Stephen Viars (MDiv, Grace Theological Seminary; DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) has served as a pastor and biblical counselor at Faith Church and Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries in Lafayette, Indiana, since 1987. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the United States and abroad. In addition to overseeing the staff and ministries at Faith, he also serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, the Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. The author of Putting Your Past in Its Place, he and his wife, Kris, have been married since 1982 and have three children and several grandchildren.
"What does it look like for a church to take the gospel to the streets? How can a church impact its community for Christ while remaining true to the gospel? I know of no person better equipped to answer these questions than Pastor Steve Viars. He's walked the talk in taking the gospel to his community for thirty years as pastor at Faith Church. Read and apply Loving Your Community for a theologically sound, practically proven, and narrative-rich approach to making a Christ-centered difference in your community." ~Bob Kellemen, PhD, vice president and academic dean, Faith Bible Seminary; author of twenty books, including Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ
"If you're tired of running the church like a cruise ship and would love to equip and launch your people back into the community, then get this book and read it with your leaders! For the past two decades I've watched Steve take an already vibrant church that was doing so many things well and help them exit the building, to the glory of God and the great good of the community. By God's grace, Steve and his church family have built effective partnerships with civic leaders, judges, police officers, and social workers that have shattered the categories of what most community leaders think about Christians and the church of Jesus Christ. In a day of bitter polarization, here's a strategy for lifting up Jesus and putting feet on the gospel. God, give us more of it!" ~Brad Bigney, lead pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, ACBC-certified counselor, conference speaker, and author of Gospel Treason
"Rarely does one find a book that balances both a sound biblical vision and practical, time-tested strategies for engaging one's community. Faith Church has long been a beacon and testimony of what can happen when a church is truly mobilized by the Great Commission to reach the lost for Christ. As I read the book I could not help but think of the many ways I wanted to share the content with my own colleagues. Pastor Steve has provided local churches a phenomenal and invaluable resource on living out our faith in the most practical of ways. Pick up this book today and start loving on your community!" ~Jonathan D. Holmes, pastor of counseling, Parkside Church; founder and executive director, Fieldstone Counseling
"For many decades Faith Church has served as a model biblical-counseling church. Now, in this book, we learn how those same biblical truths have more recently produced a church that loves its community in timely, creative, sacrificial, and sometimes controversial ways. Steve Viars engagingly blends insights from God's Word, motivating testimonies of those impacted by Faith, and clear, doable guidance to help churches love their neighbors for the sake of the gospel." ~Robert D. Jones, associate professor of biblical counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Uprooting Anger and Pursuing Peace
"For over fifty years I have worked in urban communities and have heard all the reasons why a suburban church cannot effectively minister in an urban community. Steve Viars and the saints at Faith decided to believe God rather than the voices of critics. For thirty years God has been doing an amazing work through Faith's God-dependent, Bible-guided, practical ministries within their surrounding community and beyond. I know Brother Steve and the people at Faith. I have seen the fruit of their labor. If you desire to rise above cursing the darkness and bring light to your community in a loving, gospel-centered, practical way, read Loving Your Community today. Your heart will be refreshed, your love will increase in wisdom and knowledge, and your faith will be strengthened." ~Dr. A. Charles Ware, former president of Crossroads Bible College; speaker; founder and executive director of Grace Relations