Al Hsu gave the following set of questions to help you determine how you and your church can better serve the community surrounding your congregation:
Part 1: Exploring Your Suburban Context
Describe your suburban context, where you live/work/worship/minister. How did you come to live here? What brought you to the area?
What would you say is distinctive about your particular location? Consider these cultural cues:
· What institutions are important in your suburban area? Commercial, governmental, nonprofit, educational, entertainment, etc.?
· What major employers are based in your area?
· What kinds of local festivals or community events are held in your area?
· What different kinds of residents live in your area? Where do they live?
· Why do people move to your local suburb rather than others?
· How is your particular suburb different from others nearby?
What are the needs of your suburban area? Assess the “as is.” Consider physical, economic, social, emotional, relational, spiritual dimensions.
What would your suburb look like if the kingdom of God became more manifest there? What problems might be alleviated? How would your suburb be different?
What is your vision for your suburb, your neighborhood, your community? Describe the “could be.”
Part 2: Identifying Your Church’s Role
Why do people come to your church? (If you don’t know, call some ordinary church members right now and ask them, “Out of all the churches in the area, why did you decide to visit our church? What made you stay?”)
Why do people leave your church?
What’s your church’s distinctive DNA? How is it different from other churches in your area?
What does your church do that other churches don’t do? What can your church do that other churches can’t do?
What do you wish your church could do? Is that hope anchored in reality?
Consider the “as is” and “could be” discussed in part 1. What is your church’s role in contributing toward this “could be”?
How can your church partner with other churches in moving toward this “could be”?