A recent poll conducted by Lifeway Christian Resources asked the question “What is your church known for in its community?” Three patterns emerged:
- About one-half of the churches are known for ministries that require the community to come to the church itself. Great preaching. Incredible worship services. A friendly church. Great events at the church. How our members care for one another. You get the picture. These are all great responses, but they require the community to come to the church. If community members do not set foot on the church’s campus, they will never know about the ministries of the church. For the majority of the churches, the idea of community ministry is “you come to us.”
- About one-fourth of the churches cited great ministries in and to the community. Partnering with schools in the community. Serving the community with food and clothes. Medical and dental ministries. Ministries to families, parents, and children in the community. The list goes on and on. It was exciting to read how many churches demonstrate their love for their community by actually going into the community.
- About one-fourth of the churches said they were known for negative reasons. Preacher-eater churches. Congregational fights and splits. Legalism. Unfriendliness. One church leader said his church was known for two murders that occurred a few years apart on the church site. Ouch.
Many churches are doing an incredible job connecting with and ministering to the communities in which they are located. And though a majority of church members are excited about what is taking place on their church campuses, community ministry should not really be defined as, “Come to us, and we will minister to you.” Of course, churches known by negative perceptions in the community, should begin to turn that image around by making a positive impact in the locations where they serve.
Source: Lifeway Resources