How can you engage your community on a regular basis and build bridges of relationship? Here are four ideas that you can use to engage your community.
Adopt a School – Choose an Elementary school that is close to you and begin the process of engaging. Set up a meeting with the principal and communicate to them that you want to serve the elementary school. You can do a staff appreciation of muffins and coffee. You can do a hot dog / pizza day for the kids. You can start a breakfast program where you feed kids a nutritious breakfast on select days. You can provide readers or helpers from your church that will serve in classrooms. If you think of this like a long term project, you will build relationship over the years and be able to meet needs as they arise.
Host Practical Classes – Turn your church into a place where you host classes that meet practical needs. You can host the Finance Course by Dave Ramsey. You can host a Parenting or Marriage Course. You can host Grief Share or Divorce Care. You can host an English Conversation Course. You can host classes for kids or learning centres. You can host job finding classes. Keep them short (5-6 weeks). Utilize the course to invite participants to other events in your church.
Host Family Friendly Events – A huge need for families is finding things to do for a low cost. You can host Movie Nights. You can host Family Paint Nights. You can host indoor / outdoor carnivals. You can host block parties. You can offer free babysitting for Christmas Shoppers. You can host skills camps/classes like basketball, soccer, outdoor skills, etc… Remember that larger scale events take a bit more resources to pull off so you want to make sure you steward this well by ensuring you collect follow up information, inviting attendees to the next event, and tracking who connects into your church from these events.
Partner with an Existing Community Event – Find out what your community is doing and help to make it better. You can provide volunteers. You can bring bottled water or freezies. You can provide a bouncy castle from somewhere like www.junglejumps.com or something else fun. You can also find a community class and offer to host it. Remember to look for ways to invite attendees to other events or functions in your church. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you are a church and you’re here to serve.
As you approach the Fall, pick one of these things and begin to engage your community. If you need further information on how to implement these ideas, don’t hesitate to ask.