10 January, 2006

RFC: Proposal to transform a steeple church - Draft 1

RFC means "Request for Comment". I am not educated in the official RFC process - just using the term. This is a proposed plan of action, and VERY MUCH a rough draft. It is in need of revision in concept, execution, and details. Should any comments come in, we will discuss, modify, and repost for further comment.

This document assumes buy-in has been obtained from the elders, pastor, and members of a church, and answers the question, "What do we do now?"

Preconditions:

  1. An established, local church.
    I believe the optimal church will have a membership that lives close to the building, and already be trying to move in a small/cell group direction.
  2. Leadership buy-in for low-profile community service.
    The objective will be to serve within the communities in which we live. Nothing dramatic.

Preparatory steps:

  1. Set up a list of services that community members might require. Use that list to generate an enrollment form.
  2. Use the enrollment form to gather a list of church members who might be willing to offer their services, and what services they would be willing to contribute.
  3. Geographically map all the volunteers and their skills.
  4. Identify a few groups of volunteers clustered in neighborhoods. Assign all the volunteers to a cluster.
  5. For each community cluster, order a phone line, set up a website, and obtain an email address. Community members will use any of these methods to reach the cluster with requests for assistance, or to volunteer their services .

Outreach:

  1. Advertise the start of a new community service.
  2. Advertisements should be written by each community cluster. The point is to not appear to be a city-wide thing, but a neighborhood thing.
  3. Advertising should seek both people with needs, and people with talents.
  4. Advertising is never fun, but it should hit from a number of sources. Posters, bulletin boards, flyers at the corner, rec centers, porch drop-offs all come to mind.
  5. The main advertising should be neighbors talking to neighbors. That cluster of believers in the neighborhood should knock on doors of houses that they live near, shake hands, and leave fliers. Some people are much better at this than others!
  6. Anyone who receives help should receive a pack of business cards or fliers to hand out to their neighbors.

Goals:

  1. The community outreach is just one goal.
  2. Gathering in people with talents to offer is another big goal. Some of these will be unchurched Christians. Some will be unsaved. (Some may be members of another, established church.)
  3. Sheep-stealing is not a goal. Converting people, and giving unchurched Christians a home is a goal.
  4. Meet weekly. The first half of the meeting is dedicated to bringing everyone up to date on progress in the cluster's service of the community. The second half of the meeting is dedicated to prayer and ministry of some sort. Some people will leave after the first half. (Food = good.)
  5. Maybe someone should keep a map of all the people in the neighborhood with special needs, and check up on them regularly? During weather emergencies?
  6. Get to know every Christian in the neighborhood. Sponsor events in the community to get Christians of every stripe together for fellowship.
  7. Long-term goal: These community clusters should look to each other for support before they look to the church as a whole.

The long, long term goal might be a full-fledged Familyhood Church. Or, by the time we get to that point I might have learned the error of my ways and no longer even wish to see such an animal (don't count on it, though.) The main goal is to get beyond "non-denominational", and actually have Christians serving, fellowshipping, and even worshipping above their denominational differences.

Thoughts?

Addendum 1: May as well mention early on that we will need to do something like background checks on people that we are going to be sending in to help other people.

Addendum 2: Great activity for youth.

2 comments:

Weekend Fisher said...

It's very ambitious. We need ambitious. But sometimes ambitious can be so daunting that people shy away. If you can put in that much effort, it will probably work.

If you can't put in that much effort, maybe something a little more low-key? A handful of low-key suggestions, which tend to work standalone but could be grouped if there's enough manpower:
* Borrow the neighborhood park and do a barbecue, the weekend before knock on doors to invite people
* Have a standing "anybody who wants, stay for lunch after church, potluck but nothing fancy" so people get to know each other,
* Everybody look for houses on your own block that are run-down, and knock on the door and see if it's someone who physically can't take care of it. Show up with the mower and offer to take care of it.
* Make these regular (1x/month) activities in the church, organized by neighborhood.
* Get a front porch swing or front yard bench and sit on it a half-hour a weekend, see if you actually meet some of your neighbors.

I'm rambling. That's supposed to have been just a grab-bag of easy-startup ideas, in case the manpower for the full startup is a bit large-scale.

codepoke said...

But sometimes ambitious can be so daunting that people shy away.

Agreed.

Making the idea achievable is definitely a requirement, not an option. Your low-key suggestions are all excellent. No matter whether the ambitious stuff happens, these ideas should all happen. (Hopefully with the ambitious stuff ;-)