Church has a Christian school, inner city outreach, but unsure how to reach upper middle class locals

Our IFB church (which has a friendly atmosphere and solid, Biblical preaching and teaching) has a thriving K-12 Christian school near a town of about 300,000 people. We also have an inner city bus ministry that brings in kids (and teens) from poor areas of that town. We have separate youth groups for the Christian school teens and the inner city teens (so that activities and training can be more specifically geared to each group’s needs).  The “problem”: How to effectively evangelize the more well-to-do bedroom community that our church is located in, including teens from the local public school. Our church regular practices door-to-door evangelism, which has had some success in the inner city but not in the bedroom community. We have started hosting some community evens to reach out to the area near the church, and while the events are well attended, they (so far) haven’t resulted in new converts or new local families joining the church. Any thoughts, advice?

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Bert Perry's picture

Sounds like a huge number of churches I can think of.  Some issues I've seen off the top of my head:

  • Some churches have large numbers of people in the community that have been offended by the church--and they talk to their neighbors.  It might help if many churches apologized to these people personally.  
  • Some of our ministries are designed for the culture of the 1960s, and simply don't resonate in middle class neighborhoods today.  
  • I personally wonder if we would do well to make sure we get out of our "holy huddles" more often.  Try different methods than door to door--maybe find favorite businesses and get to know the owners, find community gathering places and make connections, find random ways to show kindness to neighbors.

One thing worth noting, along the lines of the third pondering/point, is that going door to door like many would today would have been a death wish in ancient Rome.  But when Christians interacted in the normal course of life--especially as they took in babies abandoned in the dumps and cared for those suffering during plagues--they not surprisingly found that those babies and sickly became Christians.  We simply need to find our society's dumps and infirmaries.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

Identify another church locally that appears to be reaching the missing demographic(s) you wish to reach, and pay that church a visit.  If you can't do this on a Sunday morning (personally my ministry obligations for most of the year would make this very difficult for me at the present), then look for such a church that has a Saturday evening service.  When you go, pay close attention to any & all aspects of the complete "visitor experience" (if you will...) from the moment the church building comes into your sight.  Observe, study, and learn.  What do they do differently, or in addition to, or perhaps simply do better than your church when it comes to welcoming guests and visitors?  Attempt to consider & answer this question through the lens of the demographic(s) your church doesn't currently seem to attract.   If your experience is anything like mine have been, these types of observation visits can be quite eye-opening.