Every place has a history. What is the story of your church’s community? Use these 11 questions to help you understand the culture of your community and how your church can be good news to the people in it.
1. How did the community come to be? What was the founding dream?
2. What is the town’s focal symbol? A courthouse square, a main street, a grain elevator?
3. What is/are the community’s chief economic function(s)? Farming, trade, industrial, government service, recreation/retirement, college, transportation, bedroom community?
4. Who are the town’s honored, the despised, the loveable characters, and the marginal people?
5. What cultural/racial/ethnic groups are present in the community?
7. What are the barriers that separate people groups? Race, religion, education, social status? Are they visible or invisible?
8. What are the sins or hurts of the community? The loss of an industry, a murder, a disastrous flood?
9 How do residents perceive their town? How do others perceive it?
10. What seems to be the future of the comunity? Who is responsible for implementing its dreams and vision?
11. In summary, what is the “story” of the community? To minister effectively in this place, you need to know and appreciate its story. Only then can you and your church become a part of it.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2004 issue of Outreach magazine. Each issue of Outreach features ideas, innovations and resources to help you reach your community and change the world. Check out our current subscription offer »