Love Your Community Intentionally

Monday, April 29, 2024

The KidzMatter Blog/Love Your Community Intentionally

Real quick, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Set a timer for one minute on our phone and write down all of the ways that your church is showing love to your community.

Ready? Set. Go!

Time’s up! How does your list look? Is it full of practical, working ways that your church loves on your community? Or is your list looking a bit empty? Maybe the page is blank, even.

A few years ago, our lead pastor felt the desire to build a building. But instead of designing a building that would get used a couple hours each week, he wanted to build something our community could use 168 hours of the week. The first thing he did was to talk to members of influence in our community to see what needs they saw around them. Our pastor really wanted our church to be a community center, one where we could minister to others and at the same time build God’s Kingdom.

The areas of need which the leaders identified were: a cheap and healthy restaurant, a coffee shop with Wi-Fi, a workout facility, extended preschool and afterschool care, as well as student housing for local college students (who sign a covenant to serve our community). These were the first areas of need our leadership team identified, but we didn’t stop there. If we wanted to be a beacon in our community, we needed to pour out the love on our community.

We wanted to meet the needs in our community, so we partnered with our Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America and the Boy Scouts. We began to host clothing drives for a pregnancy resource center, a special needs prom, Halloween trick-or-treating, and family pictures with Santa. We became a Red Cross donation site and opened up our center as a place for other churches to hold services at different times.

That’s a lot of needs being met.

That’s a lot of love being shown in our community.

It is absolutely amazing when the church acts as the church should. We (the church) must always show our love, as well as the love of Jesus, to our community. 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” There are so many hurts and needs around us. There are so many ways to show the love of Jesus to your community. What will you do about it?

There are so many ways to show the love of Jesus to your community. What will you do about it?

Before you sit and brainstorm ways your church can use your facility for your community, be aware of the challenges. Your leadership will need to decide where you draw the lines as far as allowing groups to use the center. A written policy would be a great idea to have in place (before any issues arise). Do the groups meeting align with your church’s values? Will groups be allowed access to certain areas only? Will they be allowed to use church resources? What need will the group be filling?

At our community center, currently, there are approximately seven hundred people a day who use it. Because so many groups meet here, it gets a little tricky navigating the scheduling so everything runs smoothly. That is why we use a software called “Tripleseat”, which is often used by hotels. It makes things much easier when you are trying to accommodate so many groups. Maybe you will use a software like we use, or maybe your church secretary is a master scheduler, so that schedules all flow.

There are always “things” to figure out to be able to maximize the use of your community center. Our members find lots of ways to use their gifts here. Those same kinds of volunteers are in your church, too. They only need to be asked to serve and be trained. Sometimes, they just need help in finding out what their gifts are so they can serve. We need lots of volunteers to set up chairs and take them down for each Sunday service. You never know when you’ll find a rockstar volunteer that starts out as an extra hand setting up. Involve the members in the workings and programs in the community center. Invite them to serve. Encourage them to love on the community members attending.

Scripture tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish. What is the vision for your church? If your church is outreach focused, then be a church that reaches the lost, and celebrate what God is doing in your midst. God has moved in incredible ways at our church as we seek to build his kingdom, while at the same time ministering to our community. Ask yourself what God has placed in your presence that can be used for his Kingdom.

I will leave you with this question. If your church died tomorrow, would your community even care? Hopefully, your church is so vital to those around you that they would rally and fight to keep your doors open. Let’s commit to being the church we are called to be… intentionally loving those around us!

Corey Jones is the Executive Pastor at Southern Hills, the Church at City Station and in his free time he helps leaders take their next steps to grow a healthy church.

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Membership with KidzMatter PRO strengthens your skills and links you with a thriving community committed to empowering kidmin leaders like you.