CONNECTING WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
Knowing Your Community
To actively love your community, you must know your community. No matter how long you've lived in the area, ask God to give you fresh insight, and come to the table as a learner.
Consider different ways of discovering more about your community. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Meet with local leaders. As you build relationships with them, find out more about their vision for the community and brainstorm ways your church can help.
- Lead your church on a prayerwalk or community exploration experience.
- Order a simple, free demographic report. The North American Mission Board makes them available to all Southern Baptist churches.
- Use the Mapping Center to gather more detailed demographic information. BCNE member churches may contact Grant Davis at 508-393-6013 x228 or use this online form to order a free report.
Serving Your Community
After you've learned more about your community and its needs, it's time to think through ways that your church can show the love of Christ while serving the community.
Servant evangelism involves simple acts of kindness and allows church members to connect with the broader community briefly. This could include things like handing out free bottles of water during a town parade, holding a free car wash or offering to rake leaves in your neighborhood. Steve Sjogren is one of the originators of the servant evangelism method of connecting with the community. Check out his site or one of his books for more ideas and information.
Ministry evangelism, on the other hand, involves reaching out to those who are hurting or neglected. Although ministry evangelism requires more time and resources, this style of outreach usually provides greater opportunities for impacting lives. Some examples include:
- Disaster Relief: We have a well-organized, trained group of volunteers who are ready to mobilize quickly in times of disaster. Learn more about getting involved in Disaster Relief.
- English as a Second Language: With an increasing number of immigrants from all over the world, ESL is a much-needed service. You don't need to speak another language or have previous teaching experience to get involved in ESL. Each year the BCNE hosts an in-depth workshop to train and equip ESL teachers. Visit our evangelism events page or contact Tim Buehner at 508-393-6013 x222 to find out more.
- Hunger Ministries: According to Feeding America, in 2014 nearly 1.8 million New Englanders did not always know where their next meal would come from. Your church can help by opening a food pantry or soup kitchen, providing sack lunches or bags of groceries, hosting a food drive and more. The BCNE can partner with you through consultations and training, and we may be able to offer you a one-time start-up stipend. Contact Tim Buehner at 508-393-6013 x222, and download the North American Mission Board's guide to getting started in hunger ministry.
- More: Check out our ministry evangelism resource page for more links and ideas.