Tips on Ministering in the Inner City

Some of the lessons I learned and the approaches that have worked for me in the inner city.

Enroy G. Ferguson pastors the North Street Seventh-day Adventist Church, Kingston, Jamaica 

As a pastor, I have worked in inner-city communities. Here are some of the lessons I learned and the approaches that have worked for me:

  • You must care about the people in the communities. Do not try to trick or con them. They see through hypocrisy easily.
  • If you are a preacher or pastor, remember that most of the people view pastors as men or women of God. Therefore they will want and expect you to pray for them. This is important to them.
  • Show an interest in their circumstances. Talk to them about their lives. If they trust you, they will open up to you and come to your church services and other such gatherings.
  • Speak to them about the Bible—the lessons it has for our day-by-day lives and the importance of reading it daily. Many of them long for better lives, so they are receptive to this approach. Remember Psalm 119:9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (KJV).
  • Speak to them about how God changed your life. Make it real. There is power in the story of a changed life.
  • Be sincere in whatever you do for and with them. They live at the basic level of life; if you are not sincere, they will pick it up quickly and ignore your message.
  • Even if they do not have a religious bent, your sincerity and care for them often awakens good impulses and starts them on their way to new lives.
  • Be willing to spend time with the people, discuss their family problems or whatever might be bothering them. They often need nothing more than to have someone show an interest by listening to them as they sort out their issues.
  • Believe in and look for the good in them.
  • Point out where they have prospects for success and by what method they can succeed. Open their minds to possibilities and how they can achieve them.

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Enroy G. Ferguson pastors the North Street Seventh-day Adventist Church, Kingston, Jamaica 

August 2013

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