troyerboy's picture

troyerboy

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What does the church have to offer to a local community?

I am part of a congregation of average 70 people in a rural setting. As we talk in our discussion groups in welcoming people from the community, the question we need to answer is "what do we have to offer" to a community that is largely unchurched and self sufficient in wealth.

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seeler's picture

seeler

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What does the church have to offer?  I'd say it can offer community - a place to belong, a group of people who care.  It can offer friendship and fellowship - something often lacking in today's society.  It can offer an opportunity to serve - a chance to help others less fortunate than themselves.  It can offer an opportunity to get together to read, study, discuss things that really matter.  It can offer an opportunity to praise and rejoice and give thanks.  It can offer support at times of trouble and hope for the future.

kaythecurler's picture

kaythecurler

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Sounds good seeler.  I wonder how many rural congregations are actually doing this or are even interested in new members.  When I talk with friends from small towns they mostly say that the congregation is aging and not looking for new challenges.

troyerboy's picture

troyerboy

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I totally agree seeler that this is what we have to offer. Do you think that people know this and we haven't adressed this, or are people too busy with  work during the week and weekends are busy with sports, entertainment etc, that there isn't time for spirituality. I'm not sure we can compete with the latter

 

rishi's picture

rishi

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Food is great way 'in' to the less tangible qualities Seeler mentioned. Have you ever had an open house for the community where they can get to know you over a meal?

mickiem's picture

mickiem

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I personally do not attend church as I do not follow a specific faith. I do, however, believe in the power of God, and I do believe in the power of community.

 

I think that, among many other things, religion and, in this case the Church, gives hope. You can believe in whatever diety(ies) you will, but being a part of a community, a church community for example, gives a sense of hope for the future. I also helps people to connect on many levels.

seeler's picture

seeler

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I think it takes work from the committed few - but hopefully their spirit will spread to others and you will get more and more committed people to share the load.  Yes, food does open the door.  How about a free (or donations only) summer barbeque, a fall corn boil, etc.   But also invitation (We're having a song fest tonight - why don't you join me?), and visitation, visitation, visitation.  Visitation by clergy and church members.  (":I heard you were shut in with your broken ankle and through you could use some company.")   In this area we could take a lesson from the Baptists in outreach to the community and invitation to their church.

 

Once they are inside - make sure that you are welcoming - and that you have something to offer.

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