Connecting Church and Community

Some churches are deeply integrated into their surrounding communities. They have built bridges with other community organizations, created vibrant ministries of evangelism and outreach, and partnered actively with other churches to address larger public concerns and capitalize on community strengths.

But other churches can become fairly insular places, unless clergy and lay leaders intentionally work to turn the congregation’s attention toward the people and organizations beyond the church walls. It can be very easy for faith communities—and clergy themselves—to become absorbed by their own activities. After all, there are social events to attend, classes to teach, fundraisers to organize, ill or grieving members to visit, new children or adults to baptize, budgets to balance, meetings to attend and direct, conflicts to resolve, and of course worship services to plan. Who has time to think about the outside world?

Yet often it’s when clergy and congregations invest their time and energy in building relationships with the people, groups, and organizations in their neighborhoods that churches truly come alive. New partnerships develop; new opportunities present themselves; new purpose emerges. This section explores how recently ordained clergy seek to bridge the gaps between their churches and the wider community.

StoriesView All

‘Elite’ Church Puts the Needs of the Hungry Up Front—By Planting a Garden

The congregation knew its vegetable garden could provide fresh produce. They didn't expect it to affect how they thought about ministry—or how the surrounding community thought about the church.


ResearchView All

Mobilizing and Motivating People for Ministry

The Clergy Into Action Study found that recently ordained clergy mostly rely on themselves to motivate and mobilize people for ministry, through personal example, conversations, and preaching.


Getting To Know You: How Well Do Clergy Know the Gifts and Strengths of Others?

We asked recently ordained pastors and priests how much they know about the assets, strengths, capacities, and gifts of people within their congregations and out in the wider community.