by Matt McKee
How do you know if you are part of the community as a pastor, a business leader, or the CEO of a non-profit? For me, there are two questions that I ask myself:
- If something happens in the community who calls me?
- If something happens in the community whom do I call?
Those may be simple questions, but I believe that they are very telling of how well you are connected and how well you have communicated that you are a resource that is willing to help. If I could wave a magic wand over every community, I would make sure that every pastor had five different people on speed dial or in a text group. I think it would transform how the community views the church. Who are these five people and why do I think they are important?
- The Mayor: Yes, I believe mayors play a significant role in every community. Not only are they elected officials but they also have access to a ton of information about the community. They will hear things that concern every aspect of the community and have a view of the community that few will have. If the mayor of your town believes that you can be trusted and that you care about the community as much as they do then your church will win in that community.
- The Superintendent: Whether you believe in public, private, or home schooling the person who is the superintendent of the local schools has a ton of influence on the community. Their leadership style will attract great teachers or not, which in turn affects businesses, home values, and yes even your church. The superintendent should trust that you care about your local schools.
- The Chief of Police: This person is not on your list so that, if one of the people in your church gets in trouble or finds themselves in jail, you can have influence in what happens to them. The chief of police would love to know that your church is a place where homeless people have a place to turn, that people getting out of jail have a place to find hope, and that you care about how the community is run in terms of its local laws.
- Chamber of Commerce Director: Am I saying that the church should care about local businesses and how your community is seen by outside businesses? Yes, yes I am. The director at the Chamber of Commerce should trust that the church believes so much in the community that it is willing to serve local businesses however possible. I mean, can you imagine showing up to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and they brag about their community because of how much the church has stepped up to help make sure that local businesses felt supported and prayed for?
- CEO of the Hospital: Many times hospitals are trained to take care of patients who are in trauma or in emergency situations but what about all of the families that need to be taken care of who care for those patients? Sure, most hospitals have chaplains but where do families go when they leave the hospital? The CEO of the hospital should know that there is a place for the families and be able to recommend the local church.
Notice, all five of these people will have extremely busy schedules. They have a lot on their plates and they care deeply for the community. The only way that you will be in a text group with these types of leaders is to first build trust. Then after building trust they will have to believe that you deeply care for the community. Finally, they will have to know that when people come to you that they leave you having more hope than when they showed up. These are not easy tasks but I believe if the church is going to say that they are a huge part of the community then it is vital that we get these leaders on speed dial.
Who did I miss? Who do you think should be taken off the list and replaced by someone else? Would love to know your thoughts.