In this era of living with a global pandemic Christians will be considering how to meet increased social needs in our local communities.
A great resource to guide you and your church is Resourcing Christian Community Action. Although this is run by the Church of England, the questions to think about before starting a community project, guidelines for managing costs, volunteers, assessing community needs and so on are applicable to any community-based organisation.
Why should Christians bother with social action?
First of all, the key commandment in our religion is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39)
Linked with this is the duty to seek the common good because every human being is of intrinsic value and loved by God. We are also created to be in relationship with God, one another and the rest of creation.
“The pursuit of the common good is an aspect of personal discipleship but also part of God’s calling to the social and political structures.”
Malcolm Brown, ‘Church of England and the Common Good Today’
We will be held to account for how we show concern for our neighbours by God.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40)
If you would like to read more Christian teaching on social action you can click here.
Questions to consider before starting a project
So you have an idea for meeting a need in your local neighbourhood. It might be starting a foodbank, a job club, a youth group, a well-being activity for older people to prevent social isolation, as examples. A wider range of examples of community projects can be seen by clicking on Range of Activities.
The How tab on the Resourcing Christian Community Action website has links to all sorts of issues you will need to consider. For example, questions to consider include:
- Have you got the support of your PCC?
- What evidence do you have that you can meet local need for funders and/or potential partners?
- Have you checked that noone else is already doing what you have in mind?
- What will you need?
- How will you measure success?
Resourcing Christian Action also has some excellent templates which can be used for planning how you will recruit and manage volunteers, how to measure and evidence the outcome of a project or service for funders and trustees steps to take if setting up a new charity or non-profit organisation
Finally, Resourcing Christian Community Action also lists links to all sorts of local, regional and national organisations which can offer further support.
If you would like more ideas to facilitate a discussion with your church or local community feel free to download this PowerPoint ResourcingChristianCommunityActionv2