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Caring For Your Community
A key element of ministry development in any congregation or local ministry is to understand the needs of the people in the local community. These must be put in a national context because most local communities have needs related to major social needs recognized across the country.

A recently published comprehensive study uses a simple index to represent lots of complex data. On this index 100 = the best level achieved between 1970 and 2005.

At or near best performance:

100 - Infant mortality
100 - Deaths from alcohol-related auto accidents
100 - High school dropouts
98 - Murder
97 - Poverty among senior citizens 

Moderate performance:

81 - Unemployment
63 - Poverty among children
58 - Drug abuse among teens
56 - Suicide by teens
50 - Affordable housing 

At or near worst performance:

24 - Wages
16 - Food stamp coverage
7 - Health insurance coverage
0 - Out-of-pocket health costs to senior citizens
0 - Income inequality
0 - Child abuse 

How do these items compare to the needs in your community? What is your church or ministry doing to address the needs in the bottom third? See our leadership resource on this very topic

Source: Institute for Innovative Social Policy; America's Social Health by Marque-Luisa Miringoff and Sandra Opdyke; A Sick Society by Mike Sharpe, Challenge 51:1, pp 110-115.

INNOVATIONewsletter, June 18, 2008, Center for Creative Ministry