by Don Remick
In this current era of life and culture, one of the realizations is a return to an ancient concept of relationships. How do we get to know our neighbors? How do we discover how God might be inviting us to bring the good news of God's love, compassion and justice in new ways? Churches across the country have been exploring this. Here are some intriguing ideas:
1) Celebrate them. What if your church hosted an event that honored and celebrated some of the good things that individuals and groups were doing in your community? A dinner and awards ceremony would be a great opportunity to connect.
2) Are there groups or demographics in your neighborhood that celebrate a special season or cultural event and might appreciate being invited to use your facilities?
3) How about partnering with local agencies, healthcare providers, natural food stores and businesses to host a wellness event in your church?
4) Some churches are partnering with their local government to make their buildings a warming station in the event of power outages.
5) Some churches are partnering with Council on Aging, or the library, or Visiting Nurse Association, or civic groups to hold reading groups or lectures on relevant topics.
6) Some churches are partnering with local schools or local governments to provide education and forums on current events that are stressors or challenges for the community.
7) Some churches have hosted food tasting events that highlight local businesses or chefs.
You may have many other ideas worth sharing with others. In all of these, the key is not trying to attract more folks to your Sunday worship, but to develop relationships that help you prayerfully discern ways that God might be inviting new ministries in your neighborhood.
Rev. Don Remick
Associate Conference Minister for the South East Area and Church Development
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