This past Saturday, I did a breakout session at a local ministry training event called the Equip Conference on the topic of “Community-Driven Ministry”. Below I shared the brief steps from my session to becoming Community-Driven:
(A few of the thoughts below are from a great training tool called ‘Compassion by Design‘)
1. Identify Needs
- Step out of the church walls and get into your community:
- Pay attention to what you hear people saying – take time to listen.
- The most important thing this does is not to just identify needs, but helps you build relationships.
- This takes time. Don’t rush this. Identifying needs and building relationships will not happen in one evening of walking the streets of your community.
- Most often, your distant assessment of a community’s needs, even if you’ve lived there a long time, will be very different then an unchurched resident’s assessment.
- It’s difficult to see the needs in the marketplace when you’re sitting in the comfort of the church.
- Engaging the community benefits you more than just identifying needs, but meeting the people you are trying to reach.
- Before you can be community-driven, you have to know what you’re driving towards.
- What are the pressing needs in your community?
- How is this done?
- Through informal community surveys.
- Through conversations with community officials.
- Through interactions and involvement in community projects.
2. Involve Your Church
- This should not be done by just one leader or pastor. For Community-Driven ministry to take hold in your church, it must be a value held by the whole church.
- It takes time for those in your church to come to value this – but the more they are out in the community, the more they will value ministry to the community.
- We can run this risk of mentally ‘dehumanizing’ the “lost”. Your goal is to help your people personalize the need of the community. Put faces to it…it’s not just ‘their problem’ – it’s our problem.
- Benefits for the church:
- Helps build relationships in the community
- Gives understanding to the potential need of adjusting ministry models
- It drives home the vision of reaching a community to your people
3. Impact Your Community
- Once you’ve identified the needs in your community and built relationships. You need to pray and decide where your organizations’ “sweet spot” is:
- MOST SIGNIFICANT NEEDS:
- Where are the most critical needs in the community?
- What need groups are already present the congregation or team as either overcomers (those walking faithfully while they struggle with life-controlling challenges) or potential leaders?
- Among which need groups do you sense a readiness for assistance?
- RESOURCES & GIFTS:
- What resources has God provided?
- What resources might be available in the community?
- What are the unique gifts, talents and people that God has placed in the church or on your team?
- CALLING & PASSIONS:
- What needs in the community fuel a God-authored sense of compassion?
- What are the unique callings of the church/leadership team?
- What is the history of compassionate service in your church?
Keys for success in community-driven ministry:
- God-inspired Passion
- Clear understanding of Needs
- A workable plan of action
- The right people to execute the plan
Wow…so many churches would benefit from reading this blog about community outreach….the problem is that so many lack the drive to implement these steps. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I gleaned quite a bit from it and appreciate you sharing that!
Hope you have an awesome day!