The following tools are available for you to download, and edit as needed. They are grouped according to components of the COS process.
Diaconal Ministries staff are also available to help. We are eager to answer your questions and are available to facilitate a discussion with your church council or diaconate about “When is the right time to do a COS?” and “Are we ready?” We can identify churches in your area who have already completed a COS, and we can provide information about financial support that may be available through Operation Manna.
Getting Acquainted with the COS
Is your Church Ready to Undertake a COS?
Consider distributing the questionnaire “Are We Ready?” at a council and/or deacons meeting. Discuss together the motivations and obstacles involved with starting new community ministry initiativies.
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer walking is often referred to as “praying on-site with insight.” Be encouraged by these simple steps to start Prayer Walking in your community and church neighbourhood.
DMC has compiled sample interview questions that can be used when meeting with community leaders, agencies, businesses and other churches. These helpful charts will help summarize the results of your conversations.
First CRC in Calgary, Alberta, prepared a household survey that they creatively distributed to people in their neighbourhood.
Involving the Congregation
Discerning Ministry Opportunities
The number of ministry possibilities revealed through a COS can be overwhelming. A discernment tool containing discussion questions and prayer suggestions will help your COS team identify ministry priorities.
You might involve your congregation in the COS process by asking them to identify ministry possibilities, similar to this Call for Proposals.
Sample COS Final Reports
Maranatha CRC in Cambridge, Immanuel CRC in Hamilton and the Churches of Simcoe, Ontario, all recently completed a COS within their communities. Maranatha CRC engaged in a COS as part of their church visioning process, and Immanuel CRC and the Churches of Simcoe as a way to learn more about their community and the opportunities for service. Maranatha’s final report, Immanuel’s final report and the Churches of Simcoe Report (available on their website), summarize the opportunities for community ministry these churches discovered along the way.
Assessing your Ministry
Community ministry is meant to bring transformation and hope; however, no matter how well-intentioned, ministry may also cause hurt, bring only relief when something more is needed, or inadvertently encourage dependency. Use this tool to discern whether your ministries are helping or hurting. Signs of Community Transformation is another helpful resource.
- Christian Reformed Home Missions staff in your area can provide resources on topics related to the COS process, such as Prayer, Evangelism, Developing Small Groups, and Discovering your Gifts.
- Christian Reformed Race Relations has helpful resources for churches in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods that are seeking ways to grow as an inter-cultural church.
- The Roxburgh Missional Network’s Moving Back into the Neighbourhood (MBiN) Workbook addresses a need that many churches have: learning how to re-engage their local neighbourhoods and communities. The MBiN Workbook is a detailed guide for churches wanting to know how to do this in their own contexts.