Take your church to the community!

Categories: Apportionments

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,

As we end the first month of 2017, it is important to celebrate a very successful 2016.

Please take a moment and check your church in this month’s apportionment newsletter, which will be in your inbox on Friday 02/10. As we start a new year, I want to make sure the information we have is correct and current. If you don’t see your church, or if you see a church on here that should not be, please send an e-mail to dquinn@umcnic.org and let him know.

Lastly, we will be using the newsletters this year to help churches bring in new members. To start us off, I would like to point you to the website Church Leadership. A great article they have is 50 Ways to Take Church to the Community, which you can read in it’s entirety here.

I have picked 10 of the 50 items to share here to get your started:

  • Don’t sit in your church building waiting for people to come. Be prepared to meet people where they are.
  • Remember that Jesus primarily engaged people through everyday encounters, rather than in the Temple or synagogues. He fed people, met their everyday needs, and enjoyed the fellowship of others.
  • Interview residents of the community. Sit in a park, diner, or coffee house. Ask simply, “What are your challenges, hopes, longings and dreams?”
  • Make sure you are reaching out to people for the right reasons. If your motive is simply to get them to come to church, people will see right through to it.
  • Challenge each church group with an inside focus to find a way to become involved with the community outside the church. A choir might sing at a nursing home, or trustees could sponsor a neighborhood clean-up.
  • Recognize that many “unchurched” people are spiritually inclined but apprehensive about attending church because they feel unwelcome, distrust institutions, or have been hurt in the past.
  • Reach out to local media. Community outreach is often newsworthy, and reporters are often looking for religiously themed stories around the holidays.
  • Identify aspects of church life, such as characteristics of the building or how people dress, that may make some feel unwelcome. Are there alternatives that may reduce barriers for some to enter?
  • Extend recruiting and advertising for church groups and events to audiences beyond your congregation. For example, recruit for choir members in a local paper or community list serve.
  • Seek to conduct each activity in a way that connects people to God and the church.
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