Effectively Engaging Churches

The impact of your ministry is largely dependent upon your capacity to form strategic partnerships with churches. You believe the Church is the answer to the problem your organization is trying to solve, but you’re struggling to get the ear of a busy pastor, navigate through the complicated structures of various church ministry departments or are just having a hard time helping churches see how they can truly make an impact through the work you are doing.
At times you feel exhausted, a bit overwhelmed, and honestly kind of frustrated – Why isn’t the Church getting on board with the good work you’re inviting them to be a part of?!?!

We get it. It’s hard to cut through the noise of all that’s coming at churches – lines of organizations just like yours that need the same things from churches you do…their attention, their people, their money, their impact. And on top of navigating all that’s coming at them externally they are keenly focused on stewarding well all that’s already going inside their church – shepherding people through hard times, providing opportunities for children to be discipled, facilitating opportunities for people to live in community with one another, planning weekend services. Needless to say, churches are busy doing good Kingdom work.

So, how can your approach to churches navigate through all of that? What steps can you take to ensure your engagement strategy is the most helpful it can be for the church and the most efficient it can be for you? To what extent is it not that the Church isn’t getting “on board” as much as it might be that your approach to churches can sometimes be counterproductive to truly forming the kinds of partnerships you really do want for your organization? Is your messaging to them clear or ambiguous? Are you inviting them into something compelling or overwhelming? Are you pursuing deep, authentic relational connections or simply wanting to use the Church for transactional ones – to get done what your organization wants to get done?

These are hard but good questions; questions we as the More Than Enough community want to begin answering together in this simple four-part guide on effective church engagement. More Than Enough is facilitated by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), which supports the Community in expanding on-the-ground care for children and families (www.morethanenough.cafo.org). In part, that means helping you as organization and nonprofit leaders have the tools and resources you need to effectively engage and mobilize churches for the sake of children and families.

Now, of course there’s more than four ways to approach churches and certainly more than four principles to consider. But based on our work with organizations all around the country, we believe if you at least start with these four you’ll see a shift – not only in how churches are responding to your organization but perhaps more importantly, how your organization is approaching them in the first place. As a result, doors will open, conversations will happen, partnerships will form, trust will build and impact will be multiplied over time.