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They’re watching you. They watch what you say, what you do, what you don’t say and what you don’t do.

‘They’ are families, the elderly, children and professionals. They are your friends, your neighbours, your gym buddies, the waiter, the checkout person. They are those that would’t call themselves a part of your church but know exactly who you are. They’re watching you.

Jeff Henderson (The FOR Company) says ‘For far too long the church has been known for what it’s against rather than what it’s for.’ If we want to have influence and we want to reach people far from God, the smart move is showing them that we are FOR them.

Here’s five things you should consider to help give your church a cracking reputation outside of your four walls…..

1. Kindness for kindness sake. Often the first thing a lot of us need to get over….it’s ok to show radical kindness and generosity and get absolutely nothing in return, not even a thank you! We recently threw a birthday party and bought a massive heap of presents (including a Barbie dreamhouse!) for a young girl in our community whose 10 yr old brother suddenly passed away. Parents couldn’t comprehend sorting out birthday celebrations, and so our small gesture of kindness demonstrated what’s important to us and that we are FOR them in the midst of their grief.

2. Don’t scroll on – You will have heard again and again that online content is often the first experience someone has of your church. What does your social media and online content say about your church? What does it show you are FOR? Go on, go have a quick scroll. What do you see? Promotion of next Wednesday’s night of prayer and the ‘gifts of the spirit’ course coming up? Consider promoting the best cup of coffee locally, or give away a voucher to a local restaurant. Celebrate the good things you’re already doing in the community and make sure there are plenty of photos of people not buildings.

3. Be the village clown…if required. Participate in community events: Get involved in the local school Summer fair, the town festival, other charity’s events. This can help to build relationships with members of your community and show that your church is committed to making a positive impact.

4. What do people need? Offer services and programs that meet the needs of your community, such as food pantries, counselling services, or youth services. This can help to build trust and establish your church as a valuable resource in the community. But don’t do what others are already doing – consider working in partnership before you duplicate anything or step on anyone’s toes! If you do just one thing, do it well and make sure it’s something that is needed.

5. Encourage church folk to become school governors, sit on parish councils, be a brownie/scout leader or offer their professional services FOC. Word will soon get out that those people from that church, are alright you know. It may just make them intrigued enough to find out more.

Remember they’re watching! And they want to see for themselves what we are FOR. Let’s commit to showing out communities we are ‘FOR’ them.

Rebekah Warnock – The Forge Community Church

For further reading on what it means to be ‘FOR’, grab hold of Jeff Henderson’s book ‘Know what you’re FOR’

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