Community Impact Matters
A large part of attracting outsiders to your church is making an effort to meet people where they are. This means that the congregation of a church must strive to move outside the four walls of the physical church building and begin to reach out to their surrounding area. This is called community outreach or local impact.
Community outreach is important for the growth and development of churches. It increases that church’s visibility amongst the citizens in the immediate area. People cannot attend a church they do not know about. The more that you reach out into the community, the more you will see people becoming familiar with not only your church name, but also what your church is capable of achieving as a family. Seeing this tangible display of genuine concern and your attitude of care towards others may also help in drawing those who have apprehensions about the church or Christianity. It develops a trust between the church and the unchurched.
Outside of the benefits of church growth, community outreach also helps make your community better. Simple projects that the church can spearhead have the potential to positively affect your community in ways that you never thought possible. It is an opportunity for your church to show the compassion of Christ to hurting people. This demonstrates that the church is in tune with the love of God and knows that feet must be put to faith in order for it to be effective.
Before the church can help in the community, an issue (or issues) must be pinpointed in order for there to be focus. The church leadership can begin this process by contacting local government leadership and inquiring about specific community problems or projects that need attention. Some areas of concern might be the homeless population, city upkeep, neighborhood conditions and beautification, school upkeep and beautification, and school supplies for children. Another way to accomplish this is to address the congregation and ask if they have any suggestions as to projects the church could become involved in.
From here, the leadership must select an issue and form a plan of action. The plan needs to address the issues of time, place, environment, and resources. The resources need to be paid special attention. You need to know in advance how much money, how many volunteers, and what kind of materials you will need to accomplish your goal. You do not want the church to overshoot its means.
Putting the plan into action
With your plan of action in hand, present the idea to the congregation. Make it creative and inspiring, uniting the congregation’s passions. Give them plenty of ways to get involved. For example, if the plan is to volunteer at a soup kitchen, make sure it is clear what positions are available for them to participate. It also helps to break down each position into shifts so that more than one person can get involved. Without opportunity, the people of the church have their hands tied. This limits your resources. The goal is to place every willing, able member in a position that they can thrive in. This adds to your unity, purpose, and the achievement of your goal.
When looking at innovative ways to reach out to your community, do not overlook meeting the basic needs of people. Community outreach is not always limited to reaching out to them with the gospel of Christ (though this is important). It also means reaching out to them and providing basic necessities, a sense of community and showing love and hospitality to those around you.
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