by Ron Leonard, Missions Pastor

A church needs to make an impact and be an influence in the community. This happens when large events and activities take place, but the effect is even greater when each person is involved every day in connecting with his or her community. Here are a few ideas to help you "connect the dots":

1. Get out of the house.

Rather than only being seen in your neighborhood when the garage door raises and you speed away to work, errands, or church, spend some time outside the house. Relax on the front porch instead of behind the privacy fence on the back patio. Take a stroll and meet your neighbors. If you have small children or pets, take them with you. They are great for starting conversations and they need some time outside, too!

2. Be involved in community organizations (in addition to church).

Build relationships with people who share your interests. These may be civic or professional organizations. Look for opportunities to be engaged with others who also want to help people in the area.

3. Get involved in sports and recreation activities.

These may be for yourself or for your children. Planning, participating in, and celebrating sports events bring people together from assorted walks of life. Invest in relationships with people that will extend beyond the playing field.

4. Establish a routine and build relationships along the way.

You may eat at the same restaurant on the same day of each week. Get to know your waitress. You may stop at the same gas station. Try paying at the window instead of at the pump. Do your grocery shopping at the same store around the same time each week, and build a relationship with the store clerk.

5. Prayer-walk a neighborhood.

This may be your own neighborhood, one near the church, or one the Lord has inclined you to cover in prayer. As you walk and pray, ask God to give you the opportunity to encounter people and engage them in conversations.

6. Canvass an area to invite people to church or a special event.

You are not a door-to-door salesman, but you are extending a welcoming invitation. You have Good News (the Gospel). Be friendly and kind. Pray the Lord will give you an opportunity to invite people to church but even more so, to invite them into a relationship with God.

7. Look for random opportunities to meet needs.

Slow down your hurried life enough to look into the eyes of the people you encounter. Share the love of Christ by meeting their practical needs.  How can I help? is a great question to ask.

Connect with your community for the greater purpose of connecting your community with Christ!

What are some other ways to connect with your community?  Share below in the comments!