Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

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WHY STUDY A COMMUNITY? By Travis Vaughn and Heidi Unruh1

God cares about your community. He cares about its institutions, its arteries, its companies, and its public spaces. He loves the people that make up the community. He has scattered his people throughout neighborOVVKZ JOHUULSZ VM PUĂ…\LUJL HUK sectors of the community so that they can love the community as kingdomminded neighbors. Thus one of the reasons we study the community is so we can learn how to be better kingdom-minded neighbors.




5. The more you can unlock the complex realities around you, the better you can serve the community and seek its ÅV\YPZOPUN (UK ZV H NYV^PUN \UKLYstanding of the community’s past and present, its people and its character, will greatly enhance your church’s capacity for effective and meaningful ministry. By examining your community, you will want to: 1. Get the big picture of the community’s needs and ministry opportunities. Basically, you want to get a handle on what’s going on in your # } FWPczb 8]bXST


context. What’s reality in your community? Appreciate the ways that God has been at work in your community’s past and present. Assess how churches in your comT\UP[` OH]L PUĂ…\LUJLK HUK OH]L ILLU PUĂ…\LUJLK I` [OL J\S[\YHS context. Become a better steward of the human capital and material resources with which God has blessed the community. Minister in a way that takes into account the history, identity, diversity, and complexity of the community and its neighborhoods (avoiding simplistic solutions or ¸X\PJR Ă„_LZš Identify partners and assets for meaningful ministry, as well as anticipate potential obstacles to effective ministry.

FWPc Xb P 2^\\d]Xch BcdSh. Community study – encompassing the city as a whole, or focused on a speJPÄJ ULPNOIVYOVVK VY WLVWSL NYV\W œ means drawing on various sources of information to put together a picture

of life in the community that can be used to answer key questions: ‹ >OH[ PUZ[P[\[PVUZ J\S[\YHS PUÅ\ences, and other forces affect the quality of life in the community? ‹ What are the needs and dreams of the community? ‹ What are the assets and strengths of the community? ‹ What are the possibilities for ministry to make life better for everyone in the community? ‹ Who are potential ministry partners in the community? These discoveries help churches who care about the city address a core missional question: How is God at work in this community, and how can churches, acting as agents of the kingdom of God, join in this activity for the glory of God and for the good of the community? 7^f c^ ;TPa] PQ^dc cWT 2^\\d]Xch A community study can draw on multiple sources of information, including research reports, maps, and personal observation.