12 Dec, 2017 Pastors’ groups – Home visitation idea
To get different results in our nation our churches need to think differently. In our 2017 travels we shared about 6 areas with pastors’ groups – showing them how they could restore the pubic visibility of the Church where public media was are now denying it. One suggestion for making a broad impact on perspectives toward the faith was home visitation – and would you believe, someone had the heart to try it!
What church members will not do
They will not visit homes to talk about faith. This is intimidating to most of us. Our cultural intuition tells us some people won’t like this – even if our people skills are good, and we don’t like that tension.
At the same time some other, with a marketing bent in their personalities, will be fine with this – just like many people who sell things as a part of their daily jobs, and who develop the people skills needed to avoid tension.
What church members would do
Imagine going up to a house door a couple of weeks before Christmas and knocking. When they answer you say, “Hi – I’m from a local church here. We’re working with the council to promote community participation at Christmas. Here’s a simple flyer with some things that are coming up on it. We have a great community don’t we?!”
…and with that, you turn to leave.
With integrity, the flyer would include both church activities as well as other community ones. Note:
- This is non-threatening
- The fact that you turn to leave tells them your ‘agenda’ is completed – so they have no reason to feel uncomfortable
- The purpose you are serving is positive – and obligation free (you are not pushing anything)
- And your closing comment – which could also be a question, leaves their response up to them.
Now – if 80% of the non-Church population have little to no contact with anything ‘Christian’ in an average year, what is to stop them believing what the media are telling us – that Christianity is dying and is irrelevant? Unless we engage with them to show them otherwise, the answer is nothing. Profile given to Christianity is being ‘squeezed’ out of the public square and, unless we do something different, most of our population will believe the ‘media spin’.
A second time each year (and only twice)
Now imagine you go up to houses just prior to Valentines weekend.
- Note – one person only goes to each door, because two people would means you were a JW or Mormon.
“Hi – I’m from one of the local churches. With Valentines coming up this weekend we’re working with a few community organisations to highlight things that are available in our community to strengthen families. This flyer has the details. Families are so important aren’t they! Thanks.”
…and with that, you are turning to leave. The dynamic is the same.
Again – with integrity, you’d not only list parenting and marriage and finances courses churches provide, but also agencies like Woman’s Refuge and the Rape Crisis Centre…
When they next hear the media implying Christianity is dead and gone they have to decide what ‘their truth’ is. That ‘truth’ is informed by public opinion – not the Bible. But they’ve now had contact with a real, living human being who was from a church, and engaging in the community. This affects their perspectives, and they conclude that Christianity really is still a part of our nation, and an important part.
The point is – home visitation like this is not difficult, and builds bridges – but can also have a much broader and cumulative effect upon public perspectives!
At the grass roots – as trust is gained, because we have genuinely not brought an alternative agenda, people will engage conversation because they don’t feel threatened. For example – you comment as you are about to leave that families are important? “Yeah – if you have one!” “What do you mean?” …and with that, a trusting and meaningful conversation is engaged, and at their initiative – giving us a blessed opportunity to encourage them if we are able.
Press release: Someone tried it!
I rejoice that Gore pastors decided to encourage community participation at Christmas as is described above. Roy writes…
“The Community Events flyer was agreed to and compiled through the Gore Ministers’ Association , formatted and printed by the innovative office staff at Calvin Community Church. The leaflet has been delivered personally “to the door” by volunteers from participating congregations, covering the approx 3000 homes in Gore. Total cost $637, paid from GMA funds.
This has proved an excellent means of friendly personal contact throughout the town.”
“…Answers came as people were easily accessible and readily responsive. So we’re sure grateful for the original idea…”
A copy of their flyer is below.
Opportunities that suit our times are staring us in the face – if we can see them.
It’s about thinking differently – while being motivated to act.
How about it?