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They Know We Care - Issue #97

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Among the over 200 congregations that responded to the initial Romans 12 research surveys, one common characteristic that emerged was that many of these congregations are a center of energy in their community. It doesn’t matter if the church is located in a small town or large city, the church is perceived by both church members and non-members to be a vital player in community life. The following quotes from members of various congregations illustrate the different ways this is lived out in particular communities.

  • We are responsive to leading and helping with community events. Members are very involved in leading our town. We have a close association with the public school system, and we share resources and space.

  • We are in a vital and critical neighborhood; the government center for the city, county and the state is on one side of us and the "hood" on the other side. Many of our new ministries were developed as a direct response to issues in the neighborhood. Our church has been and continues to be the center of the black community’s response to the "real" issues in the city. Several ministries that operate in other parts of the city under different umbrellas began in our facility.

  • We are known for being somewhat radical. A couple of our biggest community actions have been a "sleep-in" under a city bridge to raise awareness of homeless issues, several services focusing on immigration issues, and meetings held at our church in an attempt to re-open a local inner city library branch that was closed.

  • We are known for our love and support of our community. Because we believe in the power of prayer, others call upon us to pray on their behalf. We are active in service to our community. We are the only church in our community, so the community looks to the church for comfort and support. They know we care.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • How is your congregation perceived in the community? What do people outside of the congregation say about you?

  • What are the "real" issues facing your community? How is your congregation involved in those issues?

Deb Smith is the Director of Best Practices at the Discipleship Ministries. She may be reached at [email protected].

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #97. © 2011 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.

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