5 hurdles your church might face - and how you can overcome them
by Richard Hardy
When you’re trying to engage with your community, your church may come across some challenging hurdles along the way. Here are just a few – including some pointers to overcome them…
Investigate local alternatives, including community and medical centres, schools, and other ‘neutral’ venues. Don’t be afraid to ask to use venues for free if you’re offering a service to the community. The worst answer you can get is “No”.
Trying to get over all the other hurdles you face while carrying weighty baggage is nigh-on impossible. The solution might not be easy, but realistically you may need to foster a forgiving attitude inside your church, a partnering attitude towards other organisations, and the desire to be good neighbours – then you can start clearing those other hurdles more easily.
3 Feeling overwhelmed
It’s often better to start small for two reasons: first, because you can learn as you go along and not cause too much damage. Second, because there is nothing like success to breed success. When you succeed with a small project, you will feel fired up for the next challenge.
One way of looking at engagement is to ask the question “How big is a family?” On average in the UK, it’s two adults and 1.6 children. It’s often smaller – it could be one adult and one child. The best way to engage with families might be to start with one family in the church befriending a family in the community, offering empathy and understanding, and maybe some practical help.
Your church doesn’t have to have an expensive ‘programme’ of engagement – just a genuine desire to make a difference in people’s lives.
There’s a good New Testament precedent for this – Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia asking him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us”. That led to a most fantastic expansion of the Christian church into Europe.
Sometimes we will be the person doing the asking; sometimes we might be the person who is being asked. But whichever one we are, the willingness to ask, and the willingness to respond, can help us engage with our community far more effectively.
Scripture for the day