How do you make connections with people in your community? How do you get to know the people and meet them where they are?
So often we want the people to come to us—to come and visit our church. But what the Urban Hope Training Center has found is that when you offer opportunities to the community, serving them and their families, relationships and bridges can be built. One of the favorite opportunities to show and share the love of Jesus has been by providing regular “Block Parties.” Here are three reasons that a Block Party might be a terrific opportunity for your church family!
- Positive Identity in your Community A block party makes a statement that says, “We are a church that cares about our community!” Too many churches are defined by their community for what they don’t do; why not brand your church as the place that wants to make a positive impact on families?
- Gives your church an easy way to learn to initiate relationships with non-believers
I recently saw a statistic showing that the majority of believers have no significant relationships with non-Christians after they have been a believer for two years. Most people in your church, whether you believe it or not, have no significant relationship with non-believers and they have no clue where to begin. A block party is a great way to have a one-day training event where your church can learn to FISH in a non-threatening way (Friendly, Initiate conversations, listen to people’s Story, and give Hope through Jesus).
- Impact the lives of people who would never attend your churchWe typically have 1500 people who will attend a block party. We have only ever had close to a third of that number join us for a Sunday service. A block party gets your church outside the walls of the building and, in turn, allows you to connect with many people who would never come during a typical program. It could be the on-ramp that God uses to get them connected to you in the future.
Jason Holt is the director of the Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Christy, have been involved in inner city Philly since 2001. The Lord has blessed them with four great kids that they are raising in the City of Brotherly Love. Jason was a youth ministry student at Grace College and received his master’s degree from the Bakke Institute. Even living in Philly for so long, it’s hard to get him to cheer for anyone but his beloved Redskins!