As a pastor do you desire to become more involved in the life of the community outside the church building’s walls? I don’t mean something along the lines of “Hey, let’s turn God’s church into a community center.” I’m taking about a desire to build better bridges by which the Gospel can be applied in and through authentic relationships?
The following three questions can help shape the direction of your pastoral ministry and the congregation you are serving in. If you are a pastor, take a moment to meet with the key leaders that you trust in your congregation and ask them these questions.
1. “As a Pastor, do I (we) have a meaningful, valuable personal relationship within the community my (our) congregation is called to serve?”
For discussion: If you do have a meaningful, valuable and personal relationship with your community, how has it contributed to the authentic relationships by which you have applied the Gospel? If you don’t have a relationship that could be described as meaningful, valuable and personal, what sustainable changes can I make to build this kind of relationship?
2. “How can I become known by my name as a person to my (our) community rather than ‘the pastor at the church on the north side of town’?”
For discussion: What characteristics or contributing factors cause your surrounding community to see you as a position over and above a person?
3. “If our congregation got up and left our community today, by the next day what kind of people would miss us? What kind of people wouldn’t even notice, and what kind of folks would celebrate?
For discussion: In your town what words are used to describe your congregation? Within the last 12 months how have you served your community in a way that they would consider meaningful?
I would consider myself to be a community minded pastor. I understand that these questions might not seem like important questions to ask for some pastors. Some might say “we are not called to please people! We are called to please God.” What if your town desires to please God? Who will help them?
Perhaps some would say, “Wow? What about doctrine? That’s the mark of health.” To that I would respond that correct teaching is not for a building it’s for people. If your congregation has more empty space in the pews than it does people, these questions are for you and your leadership.
Please let me know how the discussion goes, what conclusions you come to and what your strategic plan looks like in light of your conclusions. I would love to hear from you.
This article originally appeared here.