Michael Frost urges us to listen to our neighbours before we initiate our outreach to the community (see yesterday’s blog). How do you listen to your neighbours? Here are some suggestions and tools for listening.
1. Pray!!! As you begin this listening process, pray, pray, and pray a lot more. Make sure this time of listening is being lifted up in prayer in formal ways through the bulletin, newsletter, prayer teams, divine services, prayer vigils, and neighbourhood prayer walks. This “listening” process will depend on the grace of God and the discernment of God’s will for the congregation.
2. Talking with Community Leaders: Sample Survey Questions
- What are the greatest strengths of our community?
- What would you like to see different in our community in 5, 10, and 15 years?
- What are the three greatest challenges that may prevent these visions from developing?
- What are the most pressing problems facing people living in our community?
- How might we partner with you to improve our community?
3. Talk with your neighbours: A Sample Survey
Briefly identify and introduce yourself, saying, “Hi, we are members of ___________ Church. We are conducting a brief 3 question community survey. May we have a couple minutes of your time so you can answer our survey questions?”
1. What are the most pressing problems facing people living in our community?
2. What three words would you use to describe ____________ Church?
3. What characteristics or qualities would you hope to find in a church?
Jot down their answers, thank them, and then ask, “Do you have any prayer requests that we can pray for during our Sunday service?”
Return to the church building (e.g. “mission outpost”) to debrief, share stories, and turn in results. Pray with one another and for the neighbourhood.