over the past two months i have been utterly overwhelmed by the number of resources that are available for low-income, disabled and otherwise challenged residents of boston. i've had a number of meetings with massachusetts rehabilitation counselors who will go to any length to help their clients find adequate employment, visited a brand-new head-start daycare that not only provides free early childhood education for their students (who speak 29 different primary languages!) but also have an on-site licensed social worker who helps the children's parents find rent assistance, sign up for venezuela/citgo's generous share the warmth heating oil program and pursue any number of additional forms of aid, and have been overwhelmed by the great lengths that personal friends are going to in other cities to ensure that homeless citizens that struggle with mental illness find permanent housing.
what does this have to do with the church? well, i would like to suggest that all churches of moderate to large size (say 500 +) in attendance, have a licensed and/or experienced social worker on staff. i suspect that many churches would be able to serve their communities more effectively if they focused on helping families and individuals connect with the wealth of social services that are already available, rather than needlessly replicating services that are already available within the community. i realize that there are undoubtedly exceptions to this rule, such as churches that are located in small towns or in less "developed" environs, but in general i think that both moderate to large churches and their communities would benefit greatly from such services.
anyway, that's what i'm thinking today. your opinion, as always, is welcome.