My assumption is very few of us are fortunate enough to do ministry in the area in which we were born. I am not talking about the state or province, rather the actual town/city/hamlet/village.
This leads to an interesting problem. Do you know what is happening in the schools? (hopefully) Do you know what is happening at the local Recreation center? What are the must see events? Where do you go for this and that?
Now I grew up in a suburb and now I do ministry in a suburban area. However the two suburbs are nothing alike. I went from a community of predominately blue collar workers to one of mainly white collar individuals. I went from a community that people drive across town to see people, to one where each neighborhood is its own entity.
I am also fortunate that I married a woman who grew up in the town in which I do ministry, and I lived here for three years before I entered full-time ministry here. But on occasion I am still stumped by the differences between where I grew up and where I live now. Which leads me to want to know my community more.
Here are some thoughts I had for ways to get to know your community more:
1. Sign up for the local recreation guide- This will tell you everything (or at least most of what’s) going on in recreation and sports for the area
2. Walk around- I have learned so much about the community by going for walks. You miss so many businesses and neat areas like parks by driving by. By walking I have found new places to hold events.
3. Get connected- I talk to my local coffee shop barista, I spend time having coffee with Young Life, Youth for Christ and other local pastors. I have a good friend in the mayors office, and a church member on District council. I talk to these people to learn more and more about this place, because it is always evolving.
I believe one of the keys to effective ministry is not just being able to communicate about the Gospel (which is of the utmost importance) but also being able to love and identify with your community. It is through the relationships you will make that your ministry will grow and flourish.
What are you doing to get connected or stay connected to your community?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle