Your church address is not an accident. God sovereignly placed your church in its location to reach the people around you. Do you know them? Jesus’ Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) gives clear instructions: Love your neighbor. Knowing your neighbor is the first step to loving your neighbor.
Do you really know your neighbors? Church leaders often miss four basic demographics. I’ll use my community in Bradenton, Florida as an example.
1. How many people live within a drivable distance to your church? Typically, church leaders dramatically underestimate how many people can easily drive to the church. I’ve asked this question numerous times. I’ve heard answers that underestimate by tens of thousands. In my own community, some of my church leaders were surprised to know there were almost 250,000 people that live within fifteen minutes of the church.
2. What percentage of your community is ethnic minority? Like the first question, most underestimate the ethnic population in their community. In many communities, growth is fueled by ethnic minorities and immigrants. Of those that live around my church, almost four out of ten are an ethnic minority.
3. How many people regularly participate in and give to a religious organization? At Church Answers, we’ve analyzed thousands of communities around churches. I’ve seen surprises on both sides of this question. Below are the figures for my community.
4. How many single-parent homes are in your community? In many communities, single-parent homes make up one-quarter to one-third of homes with children. The number of single-parent homes in your neighborhood will drastically change the way you do children’s ministry in your church. In the area around my church, over 45% of homes with children are single-parent homes.
It’s hard to reach your community if you don’t know your community. How can you create an outreach program without knowing the people you are attempting to reach?
It’s easier to love your community if you know your community. Once you understand who they are, then you can know how to love them better.
The call to lead a church is a call to shepherd the community. You cannot separate the calling of church and community. They are one and the same.
Perceived demographics are often different than actual demographics. You may think you know your community, but in many cases, church leaders have a skewed view of who lives around the church.
If you don’t know the answer to these questions for your community, I have a solution. Church Answers, in partnership with Revitalize Network, has created a resource to answer these four questions and many more! It’s called the Know Your Community report. We offer this incredible demographic and psychographic report to help you reach and love your community.
Know your community. Love your community. Reach your community.
Posted on March 24, 2021
As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
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Another important demographic is the family structure of those within the general population. For instance, how many units are two parent homes? How many are one parent homes? In how many homes is a grandparent (or other non-parental person) caring for the children? In two parent homes, how many are step-parents?
The traditional family (biblical?) structure is glaringly being reduced/altered in almost every community. Knowing these factors can help the church assess more closely how they will most effectively reach into the populace. Each of these modulations in family structure brings with it a different and sometimes complex set of issues for the church to address.