Last Monday we looked at how People and Prayer can be reconsidered and reallocated in a ministry with Kingdom perspective – externally focused rather than internally focused. We’ll finish this new kind of scorekeeping this week. Remember, these aren’t just things to do, they’re things we should track that we might make, and communicate, a shift from internal focus to external focus.
Time & Calendar
Make engagement with the community part of the staff’s ‘performance measurement.’ Make the church calendar a community calendar. Put both on the calendar so people know you value what’s going on in the community (and have links to city websites). Begin church planning with the community calendar. Build around what they’re doing. Reduce the nuber of church events on the calendar so people can be engaged. McNeal: “The commitment to do this might just be the first sign of a true conversion to missional” (p. 79). Monitor the time spent working for community. Finally, (and I think this is great) help people see their community involvement and their paid work as “primary opportunities for ministry” (p. 79).
The first question should be “what kind of building, if any, do we need?” If you have a building, how can you use it to bless the community? How can you partner with groups who serve the disadvantaged? Count the number of people served through AA or feeding programs (even if they’re run by another organization!) in your church building. Allow your space to be used by schools for concerts, meetings, etc… Look for offsite facilities that can be used for the benefit of the community – renting space in a mall for tenagers, etc… And be sure to count these as a fulfillment of the church’s mission, not just things we do. In addition to caring for those in need, your church can be used as an art exhibit or coffee shops or venues for local musicians.
This isn’t my strong suit, but some ideas here include having a community component to your giving and capital campaigns (examples: one church gives $2 to external measures for every $1 it spends on its own facilities, another tithes to the community), get grant writers and partner with businesses on community-friendly initiatives. Ask community leaders of their needs. Create accounts of venture capital for community-oriented initiatives within the congregation. Do local microfinance, not just internationally. Challenge the congregation to figure out ways to limit expenses so they can give more (we did this at Christmas with Advent Conspiracy). Finally, think of ways to give creatively to the community. One church figured out how much they’d get taxed if they were to get taxed and they give that much to the community. Again, keep track and celebrate it!
The last thing we’ll look at is an external focus with technology resources. Make sure your website has service opportunities for church members to bless the community and even let people share their encounters as they’ve sought to bless the community. Take advantage of social networking on the Internet. Create podcast interviews with community leaders. Measure hits on ministry opportunities to discover interest and allocate resources accordingly. Blog about missional engagement. Post celebratory videos/podcasts on what God is doing through your community engagement.
Next week we’ll look at the next shift – “From Program Development to People Development”!