Community Engagement 101

I really like Steve Kryger’s list of ideas about how to engage with the local community. Here is his top 10:
1. Host a fair trade market (selling fair trade coffee, gifts, toys etc). Check out Tribes and Nations. My church hosts three or four per year. We also give away free cupcakes and fair trade coffee samples.
2. Host a free community lunch. My church runs one of these every 6-8 weeks, and between 20-40 from outside church will join us.
3. Get a decent website with quality, regularly updated content. Sure, this is my hobbyhorse, but people will check out your website once your church starts to gain a bigger presence. You don’t want your website to turn them off.
4. Run a fitness session in a local park with a personal trainer. My church be doing this as part of our 125-year anniversary celebrations later this month.
5. Hand out bacon and egg rolls to commuters on their way to the nearby train/tram station or bus stop.
6. Volunteer your church to doorknock for a charity (e.g. Red Shield Appeal).
7. Hold a church service outdoors (e.g. in a local park). This will make it easier for people to see what a church service is like, without the fear-factor of venturing into an unknown building.
8. Encourage the people in your church to participate in a ‘invite your neighbour to lunch’ Sunday.
9. Sign-up your church to Outreach Posters.
10. Send a media release to local media each time a new event is run. Read more…

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11 responses to “Community Engagement 101

  1. Don’t invite… go out…
    There will be a local group (start with the community centre or health centre) or collection of individuals who need help. Engage with them and build relationships on their turf. Once a month the Sunday ‘service’ is actually service in the community not a gathering in a building…

    • Hey Geoff, appreciate your thoughts, but I will respectfully disagree. I don’t see why these issues need to be either/or. Rather they need to be both/and. What’s more, I am not prepared to replace the Sunday ‘service’ for a opportunity to serve the local community. This isn’t because community service isn’t important, but because gathering people around God’s Word each week is more important. I would be happy ‘though, to suggest that our Home Groups do something once a month for the sake of the local community, but I am not going to do away with the Sunday gathering for any reason! Sorry mate, old school!

      Again, I can’t see any good reason why it can’t be both/and rather than either/or.

  2. Agreed, but I also would not want to be perceived as either or… definitely both and. Once a month your gathering around the word is where the church is directly serving in the community – imagine the opportunities when the ministering team takes a cuppa break and reads the bible and prays together? For convenience, those to whom you are ministering can join in without coming into your building!

  3. As a regular commuter, I like the idea of bacon and egg rolls at the bus stop 🙂 A good coffee would work just as well!!

  4. Hey I rather like the personal trainer session in a park idea. This works for many groups -all age ranges. Look how many turn up for the city to bay run. You probably would be even entitled to some grant to run such an even or get local gov. advertising /organisational support. They have a nice park or 2 nearby the church…could follow on with a nice group walk back to the building for coffee and chat ….. Maybe a Sunday following the service so those there are primed to start with . Bit reliant on the weather though but March can be nice some days.

  5. If you decide to go for the fair trade market, I can provide lots of stuff for you to sell from the income generation project I have in Cambodia … two birds with one stone????

  6. Thanks guys!
    1. Calling all personal trainers? Or for the rest of you, you have 5 months to get qualified!
    2. Thanks Maaike – lets talk!

  7. On second thoughts… Maaike can you organise Free Trade egg and bacon rolls to give people after they have done their fitness training?!?!

    Or… at a meeting last night Simon B suggested we publicise ourselves as ‘the church with the most holy doughnuts!’ Just a shame that his wife is a dietician… somehow not sure this idea will fly!

  8. Surely you could hand out fair trade coffee drinks at Tea Tree Gully and Paradise bus stations???

    Fair trade market sounds great. What about a bike ride along the obahn track??

  9. I like the holy doughnuts idea – sharing salvation with “cinnamon”.
    But the personal trainer idea is great! I’ve seen a group working out in Civic Park in the past. With a sign or two there’s a lot of exposure there.

  10. Calling all craft gurus…..and there will be alot of them attending TNE…..how about we start up a ‘craft morning’ where we invite women to come share in craft time, conversation and food? A ‘safe’ way to connect with ‘Churchies’ before taking the leap to the Sunday gathering.

    Now THAT is something I’d work four days a week for, so I could attend :-)))))))

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