The natural gravitational pull of every church is to become inward focused. Eventually, it becomes about us and our preferences over the mission of the church; reaching lost people. In order to push back against this, here are four questions we should constantly be asking.
Does our church reflect our neighbourhood? Churches often start off reaching those in their immediate neighbourhood but, over time, neighbourhoods change but the church remains the same. Does your church reflect the ethnicity of your neighbourhood? Does your church reflect the age demographics of your neighbourhood? Keep a watchful eye on who is in your community and make the necessary changes to reflect that.
If your Church closed its’ doors, would the community fight to keep you open? This is a bit of a twist on the classic “would the community even notice?” The reason why I ask this is because it will push you to become an integral part of your community. It’s not enough to just be noticed, you need to be engaged and involved in the life of the community. Your church should increase the quality of life for everyone in the area.
Besides Sundays, what other ways does our church open its doors to the community? Take a look through your year and ask yourself, when do we invite EVERYBODY to come? If the community knows you just as an “Open Sundays” church, then you’re missing out. You can host job fairs, community dinners, day camps, community programming, block parties and so much more. Find multiple ways to invite your community to connect with you.
Can we take each ministry and shift it 2 degrees to make it more welcoming to the community? This is where you go through every ministry your church does and shift it slightly to engage people who do not yet come. Ask yourself, “how does this ministry engage people who are not yet here?” Imagine if your youth, children’s, women’s and men’s programs were actively seeking, inviting, and engaging newcomers on a regular basis. Now look at the other ministries like Sunday Mornings, Prayer Meetings, Bible Studies, Funerals, Weddings, Counselling etc…. Take everything that your church does and shift it 2 degrees towards the outsider.
Push back against the gravitational pull and wrestle with these questions on a regular basis.