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4 Marks of a Deeper Church

People saw us as a heroic congregation that helped the poor, but something was missing.

"How deep is your ministry?" Seven years ago, I found myself asking this question. As senior pastor of an inner-city church in Indianapolis, I was responsible for developing a long-range plan for our congregation. Our church offered a wide range of ministries to the poor, including a soup kitchen, tutoring program, and a sports ministry that reached 2,000 children. At Thanksgiving we served hundreds of turkey dinners. In the fall, we distributed shoes, book bags, and winter coats as part of a back-to-school program.

We appeared to be doing an effective job of serving the poor. We were proud of our reputation as "the church that stayed" instead of fleeing to the suburbs. Nevertheless, I sensed something was wrong. None of our outreach programs was leading people to faith in Jesus Christ. Neighborhood residents who received our charity were not being invited into the life of the church. Despite our outreach efforts, the church remained an enclave for affluent, educated whites.

What was wrong? ...

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