When a church knows who it is – both intrinsically (within itself) and contextually (within its community) – it can exist naturally as part of the community that both feeds it and is nurtured by it. Helping congregations connect with their communities begins with an understanding of demographic information, and MissionInsite is the resource used in the South Carolina Conference.
Resources Needed to Reach the Community
Sometimes a church does not have the resources needed to do ministry in its community. Partnering with other churches and agencies and pursuing grants can bridge that gap. For some congregations, though, outreach to the community might not be feasible. We will identify and lift up models of ministry with the community, study them and teach them to other churches. Social media provides a powerful opportunity to reach out to the community.
Building authentic, organic and consistent relationships is one way to reach people who are unchurched. It is critically important to build trust with a generation that distrusts institutions – including the church.
As we develop activities, events and programs to meet the needs of the community, our compassion should be evident but not promoted. Many activities, events and programs might be more effective in venues in the community, rather than in the church itself. As we do ministry, we recognize the difference between serving and engaging. Serving without engagement leads to lack of connection.