In 2007, the Ellison Group released interesting survey results about church evangelism.
Its got some good news and some not so good news. Their report is now offline, but below are some key findings.
The nationwide survey was focused on measuring the level of involvement in evangelistic activities and in community outreach programs among Protestant churches.
The good news:
97 percent of all churches report doing something specifically for the purpose of evangelism over the past year.
Methods for church evangelism include
- Vacation Bible School (VBS),
- literature or tract distribution,
- events such as block parties or “Fall Festivals,” and
- musical events or concerts.
At least churches are trying.
The Not So Good News
Here is the headline:
Four out of ten pastors lack strong interest in increasing community outreach.
The article explained how
- they would rather focus on their own congregation than on the community,
- they would rather focus on spiritual needs than on physical needs,
- it’s not a major priority for their church,
- their community has no major needs,
- other organizations do these things better than they do, or
- their congregation or community really aren’t interested in community outreach.
This was consistent across all major denominational groups, as well as between evangelical and mainline churches.
How One Pastor Listened
Pastor Guiermo has listened to the needs of his community.
These needs form the social outreach part of his ministry to help their new church plant serve and connect with its neighbors.
He’s spent time listening to the needs of the new incoming residents in a part of the area undergoing new construction.
He’s spent time listening to the needs of the new immigrants in the trailer park nearby.
Blessing Your Community
For many years, 12 Stone Church developed and ran a website called
myCorkBoard.org (now offline)
I heard about it in a podcast when the preacher highlighted it as a place to serve the back to school needs of the congregation and community.
- If you had a need, post it.
- If you have an abundance of blessing, share with those in need.
- Each of us have seasons of need and prosperity, so care for another.
Those who are moderating the board can get a window of insight into what needs are really pressing in the community.
It gave guidance to church leaders as to how to pray for their community, what outreach programs may tap a community need.
It gave members ideas on how to meet practical needs so that “they may give to one another as they have need” (Acts 2:45).
This is the bridge building missional insight to this service idea.
Pastor, find the burden.
It starts with prayer.
And soliciting prayer from your community.
Invite your elders, officers, and ministry leaders to pray for the community.
You’ll begin to see the need, and you’ll begin to get a heart for what God will have you do there.