Five Ways to Influence Your Community

You have heard the question, “What would happen to your neighborhood if the church you served closed tomorrow?”

In many ways, the Coronavirus shutdown caused churches and organizations to ask that question in a more real way. Sunday morning in-person services moved to online. The church scattered from a sanctuary to living rooms, workplaces, and social media.

We have heard a lot about a “new normal” in the process of reopening. As leaders, we have had to pivot to the timeless truth of influence beyond the church’s walls and circles. Never forget that God had uniquely placed you in your city or town to influence people through the gospel’s mission.

I believe every church leader should read Know What You’re For by Jeff Henderson. He makes this statement, “The larger you can draw your circle of influence, the wider your potential impact spreads.”

We have an opportunity in this season of disorientation to make a difference as pastors and church leaders. Part of that means taking tangible steps toward becoming more present in the community.

Here five ways that you can start influencing the community around you:

  1. Support local businesses.

Make a routine to go to the same coffee shop—frequent the same restaurant. The more consistent we show up to the businesses around us, the more we can understand the best way to minister to our community. Wherever you are in the reopening process, start to schedule meetings at local businesses and get to know the people.

  1. Meet local leaders.

Do you know the mayor of your town? Do you know your city councilperson? Do you know the principle of the school? The Creative Arts Director at the church I serve coaches in our little league. I’m impressed by his visibility and presence in this area. Our role in meeting local leaders is to ask what we can do for them. Then we can begin to mobilize the church to be FOR the community.

  1. Follow the Online Conversation.

I recently downloaded the Nextdoor app. I was shocked at how much conversation happens there. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people from my town in local social media groups. Never underestimate the power of being visible in these conversations.

  1. Post on Social Media.

Now more than ever, pastors and church leaders need to value posting on social media. I think of the power of posting a photo of you at a local business or meeting with a local leader. You are modeling to the rest of the church how to be a part of the community and finding the common good. Posting on social media is critical in this season to help people recognize their role in living out faith in this time.

  1. Walk around your neighborhood.

The shutdown brought more people outside in our neighborhood. I was amazed at how many people were greeting each other. Take a moment to wave at the people walking by and get to know them. Part of influencing the community around us means becoming more visible.

What other suggestions would you have to influence your community? Share it in the comment section below.


Written by Peter Englert. Peter is married and has a young daughter. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Masters  in Theology from University of Valley Forge. He currently serves as the Adult Ministries Director at Browncroft Community Church in Rochester, NY. Like this article? Read more from Peter here!
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