At Send Me St. Louis, we believe there are 5 key principles/definitions for healthy social service outreach ministries/programs:
- Principles/Foundations of Healthy Social Service Outreach – Churches and organizations understand healthy principles of engaging and serving their community; i.e. they 1) seek to include those they serve in all stages of the planning process, 2) acknowledge that those serving AND those being served have a role in the solution(s) to a community’s challenge, 3) pursue holistic strategies that acknowledge the complexity of problems, 4) engage head and heart in their response, 5) focus on having deep impact that addresses underlying challenges and issues, and 6) place relationships at the center of all they do.
- Awareness of Internal Capacity – Churches and organizations have an adequate understanding of how God has gifted them – assets, passions, interests, skill sets – and where they lack capacity.
- Community Listening – Churches and organizations are active listeners in their community, engaging a diverse group of stakeholders, including those they hope to serve, and pursue a growing understanding of the unique profile of their “community”; i.e. assets, strengths, struggles, needs, opportunities, and awareness of community partners.
- Desired Impact/Outcomes – Churches and organizations clearly articulate the ultimate impact they hope to see because of their efforts.
- Evaluating and Learning from Our Efforts/Impact – Churches and organizations design and evaluate programs/ministries that are informed by and incorporate all of the above principles.