When deacons are installed into office, the charge given to them reads as follows: “teach us to love God, our neighbours, and the creation with acts of generous sharing, joyful hospitality, thoughtful care, and wise stewardship of all of God’s gifts.” In other words, deacons help the church show and share the love of Christ everywhere and at all times.
Engaging with your surrounding community is no simple task. It requires years of building trust, getting to know your neighbourhood, assessing your community’s unique assets and needs and most importantly, seeing where God is at work already! To do this well, Diaconal Ministries has equipped and supported churches with their Community Opportunity Scan (COS) tool. But how does a church get to know their neighbours during a global pandemic when most things are shut down and #StayHome/#StaySafe are our new mantras?
As churches began asking this very question, it motivated Diaconal Ministries’ staff to re-think how the COS could be adjusted for the current situation we find ourselves in. The result of that rethinking was a resource entitled Introduction to Community Partnerships.
This helpful tool walks churches through three steps:
- Lay the Groundwork: This includes prayer and learning about helpful, not harmful, ways to reach out to your surrounding community.
- Explore your Neighbourhood: Prayer walk your designated area/neighbourhood and connect with some of the key stakeholders there (eg. business owners, politicians, schools). Know what questions to ask to discover the gifts and assets already there as well as any needs/gaps.
- Find Ways to Collaborate: As you go, identify who is/will be most impacted by COVID and list current community partners and churches you could work with.
Rachel Vroege, Regional Ministry Developer for Diaconal Ministries, is currently using this new resource with Prince George CRC in B.C. “This new resource will act as a guide, together with coaching, to mobilize churches to show Jesus’ love to their community,” Vroege explains. “This can seem overwhelming, but churches and deacons don’t need to go it alone.”
To learn more about this resource and others, visit our website: diaconalministries.com/covid-19-resources or call us at 800-730-3490 x4304.
This article was made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.