Thom Rainer wrote the original on this, I've edited for our Lutheran New England context. I also altered # 7, which originally focused on social media, but I include that in #5.
Though this list is by no means exhaustive, here are seven of the more common habits.
- The church takes time during each worship service to pray for the community. Prayer is powerful; and the church members become more focused about their communities.
- A single member leads a team that is accountable for the outreach ministry of the church. If no one has leadership responsibility, it does not get done.
- A regular report is provided to church members about outreach and ministry efforts in the community. What gets reported gets done. Have you noticed most churches provide financial reports to the church members? That says the money is important. We need at least equal emphasis on the importance of outreach ministries.
- Churches have regular “mystery” guests come to the worship services. One church leader told me that his church asks someone in the community to be a mystery guest every quarter. Those guests are always first-time guests, and they share their experiences with leaders later that day or week. The church members thus get to see their congregation through the eyes of a community member.
- The church gives obsessive attention to their websites & social media. A church website is the new front door for churches. It’s almost always the first place prospective guests go. These websites should be designed in a very guest friendly way.
- The churches are intentional about scheduling ministries, events, and activities for reaching the community. One pastor told me that his church always focuses on one key community outreach ministry per month. The church’s attendance is less than 80, but it was under 40 two years ago.
- Churches are intentional about connecting with their community leaders - school principals, police, town elected officials, and they report on those conversation to the whole congregation.