The church has a biblical mandate to care about people in the community as well as the compassionate example of Christ as He looked out over the crowds. But we know that communities do not necessarily value the kind of caring for which churches are traditionally known. This does not mean that preaching goes away. But churches must find additional, new, positive ways to provide a positive gospel witness into their communities.
Many churches have found community ministry to be a good avenue for developing ongoing relationships in neighborhoods. These ministry relationships are progressive, meaning that one leads to another, so that there is, over time, a network grown which yields a good name for the church, positive evangelism, many converts, and a sense of obedient goodwill.
Understanding our need to care is the first and most basic foundational reality for evangelistic community outreach. The natural place for the church to begin a journey into ministry development is a thorough community study or analysis. A community study will establish several important anchor points.
A community assessment is designed to reveal certain outcomes. Typically these include:
-To refocus church concerns from an inward to an outward gaze
-To support, challenge, or reinforce what we think we know about the church and community
-To help churches see trends, changes, and adjustments in their community
-To bring into the open any hopes or fears that may have been privately held
-To provide a bull’s eye for targeting church ministry
-To locate resources and allies for sharing and creating collaborative commitments
-To affirm our particular concerns into a local, regional, and theological framework
-To provide contacts and materials that help introduce ministry to a wider audience
Assessment assumes that progress is needed through a series of steps… including gathering, reflecting upon, and probing the info. Analysis is done at a deep enough level that a good decision can be made by the church about ministry.
Every community study begins somewhere. It is better to fully document, understand, and define the needs of the community before moving forward to focus on the needs of people.
Let NSBA assist you with questions and concerns about your community.