Four Questions Regarding Community Engagement

I recently did a Breakout Session at a local Church Leadership Conference on the topic of Community Engagement.  Below are some of my notes that I hope will be a good resource for those that are currently leading in a church context!

1. Is your church providing what your community actually needs?

  • It’s one thing to want to bless your community, but you can have the heart to serve and bless your community and actually do neither if you are providing something your community doesn’t actually need…or perceive they need.
  • Are you as a leader or pastor in tune with what your community needs?  This means you need to be in your community, hearing the needs that are present.
    • Being part of community events
    • Being part of community organizations (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, etc.)
    • Being present on local community social media groups.
  • Evaluation Questions:
    • What does your community complain about the most?
    • What are the barriers that keep your community from becoming something better?
    • Who/What does your community hate or dislike?
    • If resources weren’t a problem, what would your community get excited about?

2. What would happen to your community if your church ceased to exist?

  • Would your community even realize it, outside of a little less traffic in and out of your parking lot on a Sunday?
  • The church has unfortunately relinquished its role in society because we’ve migrated into these little huddles of protection where we strive to not be ‘tainted’ by society.  But the reality is we will never affect our community if we are not in the center of the mess.

Matthew 11:19,

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

  • Evaluation Questions:
    • How is your church pushing your way back into the conversation of your community’s problems?
      • If the end goal of your church is to simply have a service every Sunday, you will never fully impact your community and the words you share every Sunday will be empty and hollow.

3. How are you setting up your church to be able to bless your community?

  • You need to consistently cast vision.
  • Service needs to be modeled from the platform.
  • Be intentional about mobilizing people to serve outside the church.
  • Budget for blessing.
    • Tithe your income toward missions and local projects.
    • Receiving a benevolence offering on Christmas Eve.
  • You will never become what you don’t intentionally plan for.
  • Evaluation Questions:
    • How are you developing a culture of service and generosity within your church?
      • Through your leadership?  Through small groups? Corporately?

4. What do community leaders think about your church?

  • Chances are good that your community leaders are a microcosm of what the rest of your community thinks about your church.
    • The best way to find out the answer to this question is to ask it.
    • Meet up with your community leaders and ask how your church can serve them…what your church could do to better bless the community.
    • Use these opportunities to develop relationships with the leaders in your community.  
  • Change will happen most effectively in the context of relationships.

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