Every church plant is faced with the same problem: how are you going to reach your local community. With the passion and enthusiasm that permeates through a new church, leaders are often faced with trying to find a way to effectively utilise it. We want our church plants to grow and we need to let people know that we are there. There are many words for this I suppose but the clearest one is perhaps your ‘evangelism strategy’, quite simply, how you are going to reach people?
There are endless things that church plants do to try to reach people from street preaching to Christmas entertainment and events. Often it is a case of trying to get people into conversation with you about your church and hopefully to get them to take a step into something likeAlpha. In Manchester we seem to have tried everything to varying degrees of success and failure, but have found one broad method that is perhaps the most effective and biblical: to actually get involved in the local community and contribute to its wellbeing and enjoyment.
In order to effectively reach a community it helps if you have some degree of community spirit and actually be part of it. Furthermore, if you can’t be part of it then it makes sense to carve out your own community activity that helps people. This has worked for us in Gorton with The Oasis Centre, in Fallowfield with The Chapel and numerous other activities our members take part in.
The Oasis Centre is a community drop-in centre that has existed in Gorton for over a decade and has been successful at aiding the community in drug rehab, life skills, help for the poor and unemployed etc. Since some of our members have got involved in volunteering, we have seen the management join our church and numerous clients of the centre become Christians. The Chapel is a creative community group set up by members of our church to be involved in the artistic culture of central Manchester. It has hosted club nights, social evenings and a creative blog. It has done this at a local bar and after only 6 months of it existing we were able to plant a second congregation called CCM:City that has about 30 people in attendance. Furthermore, we have had members simply contributing to community spirit for the good of that community because it is a great way to meet people and also the right thing to do as a Christian member of a town. An example of this is theLove Levenshulme blog that one of our members writes for.
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