How to Get Noticed in Your Community through Partnerships
Do you face the challenge of gaining exposure for your church in your broader community?
If you were to go to the neighborhoods around your church and ask unchurched people about your church, would they know it exists?
Like the church I’m part of, your answer might be a combination of yes and no.
We’re active in our community enough for many people to know us, but certainly not the majority.
We’re a church of a couple hundred in a community of over a million, so we realize we’ll probably never be known to the majority, but we can be known to more, many more.
So we’ve begun a strategic mission to focus on being known by those who are overlooked, struggling, and most in need.
We want to become the church that makes a positive impact on God’s kingdom AND in our community.
We want to help the poor, the single parents, the struggling in tangible ways, so that people who have been disillusioned by the church or think it’s irrelevant, will reconsider.
But how do we do that?
Anything we could do alone, wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket.
So we decided to look for organizations in our community who were already making an impact in areas we also wanted to have an impact in and partner with them.
Through that process, we’ve found there are 3 keys to initiating a partnership, and 1 key to knowing when the partnership has been successful.
Key #1 to Initiating a Partnership: Take Initiative
Make the decision that you are going to find an organization to partner with.
Find an organization that is making a difference with something you also want to make a difference in.
Maybe there’s a non-profit that works with foster kids, or chronically ill children, or low-income families, or single parent families.
Find one, call them, explain your resources, and ask how you can help.
At our church, we tell organizations that we have a small budget, about 30 minutes on a Sunday, and about 30 kids.
We’ve had times where the person on the phone has said they would get back but never did.
But more often we’ve had people who said, “Here’s a list of projects; do whatever you can.”
Key #2 to Initiating a Partnership: Say Yes
When needs are shared with you, find a way to say yes.
Maybe you need to say yes on a smaller scale, or maybe you need talk about doing something more manageable, but never say no.
A local retirement home asked us to make cards and origami for residents.
A Children’s Hospital asked if we could melt crayons into different shapes for kids with motor issues.
A local non-profit that aids low-income families asked if we could donate snacks for an afterschool homework program (so we had our kids write and tape encouraging notes to send with the snack bags).
Just say yes…some way somehow.
Key #3 to Initiating a Partnership: Always ask for more
After you complete a project, always ask for more to do.
It isn’t until you keep asking for more projects (and do them), that these community organizations will really begin to realize you care.
The goal isn’t to do 1 project with as many organizations as you can find.
The goal is to find a few organizations and do as many projects as you can find.
Now here is 1 key to knowing the partnership has been successful.
Key #1 to Knowing a Partnership is a Success: They Take Initiative
Whereas in the beginning, you had to approach them and ask what need you could meet and then keep asking, now they approach you with needs.
When they contact you out of the blue with such and such a project and ask if you can help, that’s when you know it has become a mutual partnership.
And that is when the relationship between your church and their organization can become the most meaningful.
This is also when you begin to get noticed, not just by the people in the community organization, but the people the organization serves.
An added bonus to all this is that the kids in your church are learning to serve every week.
They’re learning that church isn’t just about receiving, but more importantly, it’s about serving others and showing Christ’s love.
How does your church serve your community? Leave a comment.
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