Libraries are fantastic for more than just providing reading materials to church members. Are there other ways you have been able to provide the church library as a tool to be used in other ministries in your church? I'm preparing for a workshop this summer and would love to hear some of your ideas. For example - do you have a suggestion on how to provide materials to the home bound? new christians? the youth ministry? Thanks for your responses.
1) find a group or ministry in your church that regularly does visits to nursing homes/home bounds and see if you can team up with them to deliver/pick up items. you can use the items already in your system since that way you can tailor what you provide more to the person's liking with a few simple questions about their preferences, or have a separate area for items not in regular circulation (donations not needed, weeded items, etc.) to use in cases where the folks you are blessing are not necessarily members of your church and you may not get the items back
2)we have discipleship classes at our church. every time a course is offered i pull all those corresponding items and put them in a special section up front for ease/convenience. i used to do the same for every sermon series.
Good suggestions. I try to display books on the sermon series - but I think I will pull them and put them on the entry table with a note to stop by the library to check them out.
Jackie, it is those extra ministries of the library that connect us with the other ministries of the church. Some of ours are: lost and found for the church; sell tickets for banquets, etc.; sell books for our discipleship studies; prepare mediagraphies for special classes such as Divorce Recovery; repair Bibles; maintain supplies for all organizations; have special times for children in Mothers Day Out; with duplicate books set up shelves in an assisted living facility for their use; make and provide greeting cards of all types free of charge to any group in the church needing cards to send to members; ministry to homeschooling families; visitation to library one Sunday a month for new members, and several other projects. Much of this is accomplished because we have a workday all day every Wednesday with about 12 women working on whatever needs to be done. I believe that reaching out is a way of having others reach in.
Eva - all excellent ideas. Thanks so much for your response.
We have a very small room as our library, so we are somewhat limited in what we can provide due to space issues, but the number 1 important ministry we do is PRAY for people who come into our library and need a touch from the Lord. It doesn't happen every week, but just as the Lord leads. When someone comes in and shares a comment about some problem, we take the initiative and ask if we can pray for them now. People are surprised but very touched that we will pray for them right in the library (as discreetly as we can in a small area).
Recently someone new to me (I work one shift a month) mentioned she was having surgery the next day, and could she borrow a book to read? Of course I said yes, and then asked her if I could pray for her surgery, which I did with my arm gently across her shoulder in a comforting gesture. She was so touched and it wasn't until that point that she told me that she was new to the church (I think it was her second visit). You could see in her eyes and facial expression how much that had ministered Christ's love and comfort to her. She recovered quickly from her surgery and is back borrowing more books!
We find that often visitors wander into our library (we're at the front of the church where the stairway landing, office entry, and chuch lobby meet) and it is the first auxilary "ministry" of the church they experience. We are often as much of a welcoming ministry as the official greeters are. Being "in tune" with the Spirit's leading for prayer is one of the ways our church perceived as welcoming and affirming.