<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1758373551078632&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Connecting In Your Community

Working in a church can be time-consuming.

Strike that.

Working in a church is time-consuming.

Between meetings, events, counseling sessions, retreats, and more, it can quickly feel like one’s entire life is being lived inside the walls of the church building or that every moment is confined to the congregational calendar. After all, you work there. You prepare lessons there. You build relationships there. And, for those who work in a ministry setting, the church is not just a place of employment—it is your congregation as well.

Make no mistake: I am not saying that these are bad things. Working in a congregation, even with its busy schedule, is an amazing joy and privilege. But it is also important to recognize the reality that congregational life is busy. And when we fail to move beyond our connection to and in this one place, it can become unhealthy, one-dimensional, and even co-dependent.

It is important to find ways to connect in your community beyond the congregation. There are many benefits to building these connections. First, you will gain an increased understanding of your setting. Ministry does not happen in a vacuum; it is important to understand the things that are happening in your community, as they will impact what happens in your ministry. Additionally, you will meet new people. Expanding your circle beyond congregation members matters in many ways. Finally, your newly acquired understanding and connections will build trust with community members and organizations, ultimately opening the door for further ministry.

So where do you begin? If you are looking to get connected in the community on a personal level, there are a number of places to start. Take a class through a local community college. Join a gym, or sign up to play in a recreational sports league. Get involved in a club. Find a place to volunteer or serve. If you’re looking for an even simpler way to begin, work outside of your office in a place such as the local coffee shop.

You can also begin making professional connections in your community. Stop by and talk with people working at local schools, hospitals, police and fire departments to see how you can help serve them and fill needs in your community. Talk with leaders of local community organizations and events. If you are unsure where to begin, ask your members! These professional connections will spark new ideas for ministering to your community. They will help you better understand the context and climate in which you are serving. They may also open doors for building relationships and connections on a personal level—which is, again, a benefit to your ministry!

Connecting in your community is vital to your life as a church worker. Begin planning, despite the busyness that sometimes accompanies working in a church, to make connections beyond the doors of your congregation. Start small. It may be uncomfortable, but your presence in the community matters. Recognize that genuine connections take time, but they matter deeply—not just for you but for your community.

Continue the Conversation: How will you begin intentionally building connections in your community in the coming days and weeks? Leave a comment to continue the conversation!


Written by

Heath Lewis

Heath Lewis as an Instructor of Christian Education and Program Coordinator for the Director of Christian Education program at Concordia University St. Paul. Prior to his time at CSP, Heath spent nearly 10 years as the Director of Christian Education at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Edmond, OK, where he led the congregation's education, outreach, communication, and youth ministries. Heath holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences and a Certification as a Director of Christian Education from Concordia University (Seward, NE), along with a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA). His passion is the development of Christ-centered leaders and organizations. Heath and his wife, Jessica, were married in January 2009. You can connect with Heath by visiting heathlewis.net.



Teaching Parables: The Wedding Feast and the Great Banquet

Like other parables, Jesus uses this allegory to present more than one lesson. On one hand, Christ admonishes those present and the reader...


Hymn Devotions: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want

David is clear. The Lord is his Shepherd. The verb is powerful. Not “if only” the Lord were my Shepherd, or “one cannot ever know for sure”...


Connecting Students’ Families to Church

The task to bring young families to church can be daunting, but teachers have a unique position in the mission field. Teachers have the...



Devotion for Holy Cross Day

Today the Church celebrates Holy Cross Day. The Gospel reading is John 12:20-33, where Jesus speaks of the cross upon which He will be...


Hymn Devotions: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want

David is clear. The Lord is his Shepherd. The verb is powerful. Not “if only” the Lord were my Shepherd, or “one cannot ever know for sure”...


Pentecost 13 Devotion on Salt and Discipleship

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Luke 14:25-35, where Jesus speaks of the cost of discipleship.