Activist Faith

Activist Faith

Make a Difference Where You Are

[Guest post from blogger and friend, Crystal Rowe.]

Last week, the Barna Group released a new report revealing that 75% of adults believe that churches have a positive effect on their local communities. This sounds like good news, right? So why is it that church membership is dwindling? It seems that people would want to take part in this positive influence of the community around them.

Here’s the thing … the next question asked was:


Many churches and faith leaders want to contribute positively to the common good of their community. What does your community need, if anything, that you feel churches could provide?

Many adults had no idea how churches could contribute – even though they had previously said the presence of a church was a positive addition to the community. Here were the other results:

  • Addressing poverty 29%
  • Teaching the Bible and giving spiritual direction 12%
  • Serving youth, families, & the elderly 13%
  • Cultivating biblical values 14%
  • Assist those in recovery 10%
  • Assist with financial or career education 7%
  • Be inclusive and accepting 3%
  • Be engaged politically 1%

What this report really reveals is that although people are not hostile toward churches, they really don’t see how the local church plays an active role in its community. This is particularly true when churches are located in an area with very little poverty.


But the gospel message is about transformation … that in Christ we are a new creation, full of hope and joy. We live full and abundant lives because of a greater purpose. So if the gospel message is about transforming lives, then shouldn’t our churches be transforming their local communities?

It seems there are a couple of things church leaders can learn from this report. Just what can we do to make sure our churches have a positive impact on their local communities?

Have a public face.
Show up at community events. All too often our church leaders do most of their work inside the church building with church members. They don’t see the need to attend the local parade, community fair, chamber of commerce, town meetings. Because the church has largely been absent from these community events, it’s difficult to understand how the church and community connect.


If the church is part of the community, then the church should be active in the community. Church leaders should be the human face of the church. When people think of the church, there should be people that come to mind.

Build relationships outside the church.
I think a lot of people in the community have misconceptions about the church. Although most people think the church is a positive thing, many don’t see the need to be personally committed to a church. There could be many reasons for this. Maybe they are too busy. Or maybe they aren’t sure the church has anything to offer them – after all, the church is there for the poor and the downtrodden, not the mainstream, right? Or maybe they’ve had a bad experience at a church – felt unwelcome, judged, kicked out.


Regardless of the reason, it’s unlikely that they have a real relationship with someone who is active in a church community. When we build relationships with people outside of the church, we begin to walk in their shoes – and they in ours. They begin to see how church has a positive effect on our lives – and maybe how it could have a positive effect in theirs.

Is your church active in the local community? How do the churches around you contribute positively?

Crystal Rowe

Crystal has a heart for making the church and the Christian faith real and relevant to the world around her and is passionate about serving others in the name of Christ. Crystal is married to her perfect match, David and is Mommie to the two sweetest kitties on earth.

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

Transitions at Activist Faith
After more than 1,000 posts over the past three years and now a book, Activist Faith has been a huge part of my life. More than I could have ever imagined, Activist Faith has allowed the opportunity to connect with faith-based leaders and ...

posted 1:21:15pm Sep. 03, 2013 | read full post »

The Intentional Activist
Great new post post from Relevant Hope founder and friend Jimmy Turner. Be intentional! -Dillon +++ Most towns have many organizations that help people living outside. Chattanooga, TN, for instance, has two rescue ...

posted 9:38:04am Aug. 30, 2013 | read full post »

Save the Girls!
It's an unbelievable claim: 163 millions female babies aborted by women seeking sons. This is the information shared in Mara Hvistendahl's book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences in a World Full of Men. But ...

posted 11:22:07am Aug. 26, 2013 | read full post »

Crafts that Change the World
[Guest post by Activist Faith co-founder Daniel Darling, minister, author, and speaker, and friend, interviewing WorldCrafts president and New Hope CEO Dr. Andrea Mullins. Worldcrafts is a Christian fair-trade artisan group based in Birmingham, ...

posted 11:19:05am Aug. 25, 2013 | read full post »

The Right Kind of Activism
I once spoke with a group of college students about modern slavery and human trafficking in America. After my presentation, a friend of mine asked how it turned out. I told him, "The women were all ready to start aftercare centers for ...

posted 11:16:51am Aug. 23, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.