How do you reach your community with the person and message of Jesus? After all, that’s the primary reason why the church exists: to go and make disciples of all nations. What are ways to do that?
There are many ways a church can reach into a community. Here are a few considerations:
Where does the neighbourhood gather?
Some communities already have established times when people gather. It could be the fall fair, a summer block party, or a Christmas pageant. Wherever that gathering place is, be present there. It doesn’t mean you need to set up a large public display to advertise your church, but it is important to go and be with the people. Have fun together. Create memories together. Public occasions like Halloween, Remembrance Day and other notable dates are key moments to be in your community.
What does the neighbourhood need?
There may be specific needs within your community—people who require support. It could be something simple like cleaning up the local park or it could be a more in-depth situation. It could include advocating for those marginalized. Maybe you’re not sure where to start? Our friends at CBAC have a great tool to help you figure it out: http://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/neighbourhood-assessment-workbook/
What gifts/skills do you bring?
There may be specific ways God has already equipped you to serve your community. Alongside the previous two questions, assess what are specific gifts/skills/tools your church has and find creative ways to share those with the community. Don’t assume it has to fit within an established template. Prayerfully consider how the last three questions integrate together; you may be surprised at what the answer could be.
Be there for the long term.
It’s not to say you as the individual must remain in that community forever. Rather, as a church, be present for the long term. Trust takes time to cultivate and it must be stewarded. It is the responsibility for us as church individuals to intentionally share with others so the burdens of the tasks do not rely on on one—or a few—individuals. We also take responsibility for sharing/transferring the trust. It takes the commitment of the local church to intentionally be present in order to continue building trust.
What ways do you reach into your community? Share your thoughts in the comments below.