Creating Deeper Community Connections

Deeper Community

Dear Readers,

After many requests, we have decided to postpone our webinar – Creating Deeper Community Connections – from February 17 to February 24 at 1:00pm ET to allow prospective participants to devote their entire attention to the celebration of Ash Wednesday on the 17th.

To register for the webinar, click here.

If you already registered and are okay with the new date, don’t worry: your registration will be automatically transferred to the new date.

If you are already registered and the date doesn’t work for you, simply go to the Eventbrite webinar registration page, request a refund, and we will happily comply.

Meanwhile, we hope to see you on the 24th.

Have a great Ash Wednesday!

by Mary Frances

Click this link to register
for our webinar on this topic on February 17, 2021 at 1:00pm
sponsored by FaithX, ECF, and the Gathering of Leaders

When I was in my last parish call, I was fortunate to receive a detailed demographic report from one of the big companies offering such things.  I spent hours pouring over the pages and pages of information.  Median age, median income, race, education, and more.  The whole thing was at least 20 pages long and eventually I realized that it just wasn’t going to do me any good.  First, I didn’t really understand what to do with this information.  Second, I didn’t know where some of these population groups were.  I understood there was a growing Latino population in town, but I didn’t know where they were.  I knew that the number of people experiencing homelessness was growing, but aside from the few who came to the door of the church, was there a place these folks gathered?  Sought shelter?  I just didn’t know and, perhaps more importantly, I didn’t know how to find out.
Today we have clarity on two of the issues I raised above.  We now have demographic reports that are clear, concise, and point to community strengths, weaknesses, and risk factors.  The Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report from FaithX provides over 40 relevant data points – in just two pages! And when we dig deeper into those data points we can determine how and where a community is growing or not, where there is affordable housing or not, and predominant population groups based on age, race, and gender.  We can also determine at a glance if there are concerns about medical coverage, the growing cost of daycare or how many people in your neighborhood are falling into poverty.  These numbers are vital to going beyond anecdotal evidence to understand the joys and concerns of the community in which we are planted.

But data is only part of the story.  We have a much better understanding of how to get to know a community using demographic reports as a starting place but definitely not an ending place.  Whether we like to admit it or not, we are living in a post-Christian era.  Not all of our neighbors go to church (maybe none of them do) and many people don’t understand the role a congregation can play in the health and vitality of a community.  It used to be we could just wander into the local coffee shop and chat with folks, learn about what they think of the neighborhood; what they think about the church.  But those days are gone for many reasons, Covid being just one of them.  It’s time we relearned how to connect with the people outside of our doors.  Because of the pandemic, many may not feel comfortable walking the sidewalks or knocking on doors.  And even before the pandemic, those age-old tools may not have been as successful as they once were.  We have new tools at hand if we are bold enough to set out of our comfort zone and get started.

It’s time to think outside the box, outside our buildings, and get to know people in new and different ways.  Join me on Wednesday, February 17th at 1pm ET and we will look at adapting those age-old tools to fit our modern age and our current times.  Bring a team if you can, and come prepared to listen, learn, and work.  You will leave this webinar with the tools you need to create a plan for connecting with your community.  I hope to see you there!