This article was written by state missionary Ken Allen.
One evidence of a healthy church is being connected to the community. Conversely, a sign of an unhealthy church is no real connection to the community. Here are a few suggestions to help you connect:
1. Visit with community leaders (principals, mayor, police, etc.) and simply ask what are the most pressing needs from their perspective.
2. Have gift cards (such as Walmart) available for different circumstances, such as a house fire, tornado damage, etc.
3. Select or nominate a group of 3 to 5 from within the church to focus on how to connect to the community.
4. Saturate a particular neighborhood over a period of a year or two. Prayer walk or ride the area. Ask for prayer needs going door to door. Follow up on the prayer needs weekly or monthly. One pastor and his staff adopted a mobile home park near the church. After 3 or 4 visits, they began to see fruit from their labor. One lady in that mobile home park was on the phone when the pastor knocked, and she told the person on the phone, “My pastor is here. I need to let you go.” Because she sensed that the pastor cared and was consistent, she saw him as her pastor.
5. Encourage and practice random acts of kindness and give a card with the church name and the words “We love you!”
6. Continually celebrate community connections stories during the worship service. To build your connection to the community, keep your eyes focused outward. As you begin to really experience community needs, more opportunities will open up for the church. The overall goal is to have a platform for sharing Christ.