What can we do to survive?
Thus began a conversation ten years ago with a dying church in a transitional neighborhood.
The church invited me to do some Evangelism Consulting with them about launching a new worship service.
That topic was the buzz of the time and the church leaders simply assumed that launching a new worship service was needed.
The average age of church members was 60, and they wanted more young people.
They were in survival mode and needed something new to get new people.
Is a new worship service the answer?
The pastor wanted a new worship service, but the congregational elders didn’t.
It was clear that leadership was divided, so I need to help them see beyond that debate.
I lead them into a brainstorming process.
Out of that process they decided to do a block party.
The congregation organized the block party to get to know their community and build a bridge to it.
They had food, games, inflatables, and so on.
New wave of momentum
They were energized to carry it out.
Church members got excited about the block party and began praying.
Members hung door hangers around the neighborhood and invited the local community to come.
Pastor helped with the momentum building. It was a big event that spurred some new invitations and energy.
The aftermath of the block party
As a result of that block party 10 years ago (and its continued annual repeats) this church has discerned the neighborhood needs.
They have re-engaged the community.
They have launched several new ministries to reconnect with the neighbors:
- Preschool (now with an annual budget larger than the church’s).
- Meals on Wheels.
- Neighborhood Watch
- And other ministries.
This church has become much more missional in it’s mindset and has lots of new vitality and energy to serve.
As a result, they’ve focused less on the attractional elements and more on the missional elements to help them re-connect with the neighborhood.
Here is the key next step:
Now they are being more intentional about actively sharing their faith along with serving the area.
This is where more intentional evangelism training will come into play.
The church needs to engage with actions, but also be able to explain how they are different than the rotary club.
Let me ask you this?
What outreach did your church do that helped you re-engage the neighborhood?
What were some fruits that developed out of that connection?