I run into pastors all the time asking where to start in making their church more socially aware and active. My short answer:
You cannot outsource a call to social action; You have to champion it yourselves.
Pastor, there is literally nothing holding you back except you. You have the authority. You have the influence. You have the calling. And you have the gifting and ability to do whatever God is calling you to do. That being said, you should still start at home. Prayerfully involve your wife and family. Prayerfully digest the tension in your own life and ways. As we all know, we cannot lead others where we have not gone ourselves. But here’s three things I feel are necessary:
1) Be Convicted: This has to be something that God is putting on your heart for the right reason. If it is not, it will just be burdensome to you and your leadership. Start with prayer and end with prayer. Ask the Spirit to show you where you yourself are falling short. You don’t even have to know exactly what you’re being convicted about, you just have to feel something, know something has to be done, and be willing to do something about it.
2) Be Convinced: Settle the issue of theology. Study the scriptures on serving the least. Not everyone agrees, so expect conflict, pray and do some more research. One way or another you’ll either land on seeing social action as a significant piece of the gospel, a necessary part of a Christians life running parallel to the gospel, or something completely unconnected. Two out of three of those demand a response. Without being convinced that you are pressing forward out of biblical mandate or moral imperative, your leadership will lack the power and confidence you need. Those following can see the difference.
3) Be Confident: Confidence is the fruit of the first two steps. When the tension comes, you’ll either forget why you’re doing it and bail or remember Gods leading and instruction and fight for it. There will be a time when you’ll feel you l have to remind God that it was His idea. He already knows that. Do you?
(Excerpted from “Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture”)