Methods of Evangelism: Responding Local Context and Need
At the local level, ministers are encouraged to examine the community that their church inhabits deeply to ensure that all of the evangelism opportunities that are available are being taken advantage of. Outreach methods have always been a topic of discussion in the church and a matter of concern for those seeking to expand into different age groups and areas of the city. However what remains an important to this topic are the local needs of a community and how the church can address those issues.
For example, one recent church took the time to identify with their local community and see the popular activities that adults were attending so that they could change the format to something that honors God and brought them in to attend the church. Researching the popular trends in the community either through Facebook or a local ad-posting website can provide insight into activities the church can offer that match the interests of the community. The church can then provide these same classes but with a Biblical perspective. The last church that performed this kind of research brought 20 families into the church to join their outreach program.
Additionally, the need within a community often falls in the culture of the people residing in it. African-American communities are widely different from their Caucasian or Asian counterparts in terms of the kinds of activities they like to participate in and the needs they have. It is strongly recommended for a pastor or minister to make themselves familiar with the atmosphere of a community by observing their surroundings and taking note of common celebrations, festivals, and activities in the community. Certain demographics are more focused on music, dance, education, family, etc.
These kinds of characteristics are not often determined by simply living in an area, but by participating among its inhabitants. By understanding the culture of a particular city or neighborhood, the church can become much more effective in offering programs or outreach that can identify with and attract the local people. The most successful churches in outreach do their very best to research and connect directly with their neighbors. People notice when the church cares about them, and the church benefits because they are willing to come and listen.