Connecting to Our Communities Resources
Formation and discipleship is not just about what we teach in church. Being formed as followers of Jesus means that we first create safe and welcoming spaces within our church buildings. But we also need to know how to get outside our buildings and INVITE people to “come and see” as the Bible tells about those who first shared about their encounters with Jesus. That is really what Evangelism is all about – inviting others to see and experience what we have experienced as joy, peace, community, and God’s abundant Love. Here are some resources to help us in connecting in new ways.
Creating Safe Spaces
Safe places means safe for everyone! The very first thing is to make sure you and all your volunteers and paid staff are caught up with our Whole and Healthy Church policies and training.
Also do a walk through of your building and make sure you are up to date with safety features like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. And are there clear signs posted in the building in case of emergency? Having a disaster plan can also be an excellent way to reach out to your neighborhood to offer your building for meeting space, a staging area, or being a central safe spot in some other way for your neighbors.
Creating welcoming spaces means spaces where everyone is welcome. Though only a very brief introduction to these areas, please consider this short list of articles on creating more welcoming and inclusive spaces.
- Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Creating A More Inclusive Sunday School
- Resourcing Adults Who Work with LGBTQIA+ Youth
- Including People with Disabilities in the New Year Planning
- Predominantly White Churches & Racial Justice: Discern the Next Right Thing
- Special Needs Inclusion at Church: Where to Start
- God Loves People Who Use Drugs: Harm Reduction & the Church
- Welcoming Our Hispanic/Latino Neighbors: 4 Tips & An Open Heart
This area will be expanded, but these articles can help you think about the ways churches welcome and include those in the community.
Invite, Welcome, Connect is a complete program for churches. The ministry of Invite Welcome Connect equips and empowers individuals and congregations to practice evangelism, hospitality, and connectedness.
The Episcopal Church has an office of Evangelism which offers several resources and programs around Evangelism.
- New Curriculum on Embracing Evangelism
- Good News Gardens to connect with neighbors
- Monthly webinar called “Evangelism Huddle” for church leaders to share ideas and resources
- Yearly Grants for innovative ways of reaching out with the good news from the Presiding Bishop’s Office as well as from the Episcopal Evangelism Society
- And more resources