Many churches seem to mistake their mission for social service to the community at large, rather than proclamation of the gospel.
Most denominations do undertake the complex, demanding and high skill work of some form of social service. However, these days, such endeavours have become co-opted by governments through grants, behaviour requirements and open recruitment for staffing.
This has had perverse outcomes. I've encountered Anglican 'charities' with service outlets (homes for adolescents) staffed by self proclaimed witches, and a Roman Catholic charity, with a similar clientele staffed by people who parade their sexual appetites (outside of marriage of course, where one doesn't need to 'parade' such), and blithely support a 16 year old drug addict to finance her habit through prostitution.
These are clearly of no charitable or evangelistic or even social benefit at all.
If we do 'social' work, it should have two arms: pure charities that do Christian work with a Christian ethos, and support for church members who fall into need.
Paul's collection for the church in Jerusalem was not for the Emperor worshipers. It was for his fellow Christians.
So we come to the local church.
I see so many running a deficit view of evangelism. Out to repair peoples' failings, limitations or socially defined 'needs' in the slender hope that they'll become church members.
Futile, on the numbers.
We need to equip the church to do evangelism at the grass roots. Every Christian needs to know and be able to explain what they believe and why, and to engage others in conversations in the knowledge of the 5 basic apologetic topics:
- Resurrection of Yeshua
- Existence of God (extending to 'miracles' and prayer)
- Veracity of the Bible
- Science vs Faith (really, creation vs pagan evolution)
- Problem of evil (the problem for atheists, not us)