Community Engagement in a Covid World
When we read the Deacon’s Mandate, we see that they are called to “teach [the church] 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, to show and share the love of Christ everywhere and at all times.
Deacons! Don’t let Covid stop you from engaging with your surrounding community.
Getting to know your community is no simple task. It requires years of building trust, discovering what makes your community unique, assessing your community’s assets and what gaps exist and, most importantly, seeing where God is at work already!
Over the years, Diaconal Ministries has equipped and supported churches with their Community Opportunity Scan (COS); a tool that helps a church answer questions like, ‘Is our church ready to engage in community partnerships?’ and ‘Are our existing programs as effective as they could be?’ One church was midway through their COS journey when Covid-19 hit.
While it may seem unrealistic and even outrageous to start now – during a pandemic! – Diaconal Ministries is here to help. During the summer months, Diaconal Ministries’ staff began to re-think how the COS could be adjusted for the current situation churches were finding themselves in. The result of that rethinking was a resource entitled Introduction to Community Partnerships.
This resource acts as a guide, together with coaching from Diaconal Ministries’ staff, to mobilize churches to show Jesus’ heart to their community. This helpful tool walks churches through 3 steps:
- Laying the Groundwork; This includes prayer and learning about helpful, not harmful, ways to reach out to your surrounding community.
- Exploring your Neighbourhood; Prayerwalk 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.
- Finding 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 BC. “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: https://diaconalministries.com/covid-19-resources/ or call us at (800) 730-3490 x4304.