In this final article about the February dinners, we take a look at the responses to the third questions asked by all of our facilitators—“How does the community see the church?” Your participation in these dinners was important to the Campaign Leadership Team to make sure that what we have in mind for Tabernacle’s spiritual mission is a close match to the thoughts of our current congregation. We have grown over the past several years, and we want to be sure that both our newer and longer term members have a voice in our approach to change. Thinking about how we fit in our community is certainly a key consideration in our plans.
There are two consistent responses to the question about how the community views our church across all of the dinner notes:
- We really aren’t sure how people around us view the church today.
- We believe that we need to take a more active approach to engaging our community in the activities of our church.
Probably the most obvious spiritual mission that our neighbors can see is our commitment to the development of children via the Childcare Center. They see the red and white strollers rolling up and down the streets, and they see children playing the in the playground. There are Childcare Center graduates that live not far from the church—those children and their families know us as a positive contributor in our community.
We serve our community each week through our Clothes Closet and Food Pantry assistance. We distribute Thanksgiving Baskets every November to about 100 of our neighbors in need. You suggested that we look for new ways of serving our neighbor in all age groups.
You also said that we should find new and creative ways of inviting those near us to learn more about Tabernacle. Including neighbors in occasional “coffeehouse” type music events may provide a cordial way to get to know more of those who live nearby. Inviting our neighbors to various events at the church throughout the year was also suggested.
Finding ways to keep the neighbors informed as we launch our physical changes and continue to grow our activities that enable us to realize our vision is crucial. Continued participation in the neighborhood association is one of those avenues of communication within the local area. We will look for a variety of ways to keep our progress updates available to our neighbors in the months and years ahead.
Again, we thank all of the sponsors for the Discovery Dinners, as well as all of the participants for braving the cold to share your thoughts and ideas! This was a key initial step for our God-Sized Vision campaign. As we progress in this campaign, we will make every effort to maintain a high level of communication with both our congregation and our community.