Welcome to the resource page for Community Engagement.
Below is a brief description of each area Send Me sees as critical for healthy community engagement, why it matters, and select resources to help you go deeper. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Principles for Healthy Community Engagement
The core DNA of a church or organization’s outreach strategy and vision will impact their efforts to engage, serve and love their communities. Below are some of the healthy principles Send Me encourages churches and organizations to consider as they work to engage their community.
- Seek to include those they serve in all stages of the planning process.
- Acknowledge that those serving AND those being served have a role in the solution(s) to a community’s challenge(s).
- Pursue holistic strategies that acknowledge the complexity of problems.
- Engage head and heart in their response.
- Focus on having deep impact that addresses underlying challenges and issues.
- Place relationships at the center of all they do.
Awareness for Internal Capacity
To effectively walk with a community, churches and organizations need to have a thorough understanding of how God has gifted them – assets, passions, interests, skill sets – and also where they lack capacity.
While listening to the community isn’t always the first instinct of churches or organizations, Send Me has learned that it is a critical skill to be cultivated. Churches and organizations should seek to become active and ongoing listeners in their community, engaging a diverse group of stakeholders, including those they hope to serve. Additionally, churches and organizations should pursue a growing understanding of the unique profile of their “community”; i.e. assets, strengths, struggles, needs, opportunities, and awareness of community partners.
For effective community engagement, churches and organizations should consider the ultimate impact they hope to see as a result of their efforts. This requires a more nuanced and reflective look at what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what is different because of your engagement.
Evaluating and Learning from Our Efforts/Impact
Churches and organizations that engage their communities well are always learning. They ask hard questions of their efforts and work to make sure they are aligned to healthy principles of community engagement, an awareness of their capacity, a growing understanding of the community, and a focus on ultimate impact and outcomes.