Work with your community
Research from across the UK shows that partnering with local communities, whether for missional, community, business or cultural use, has a positive impact on the sustainability of places of worship.
However, research also shows that in order to be successful the needs of the wider community must be the starting point in the development of any project, as solutions involving the wider community need to service the needs of the community first and not the place of worship.
In listening to your community’s needs and working with local people to meet them, your building can become a valuable asset in your church’s mission and in meeting pastoral needs. (Sources: Social Enterprise and rural places of worship in England, Crossing the Threshold Toolkit, Germinate – Getting the Most Out of Your Buildings)
Your Mission Community may want to explore partnering with your local community and there are a number of excellent resources available to support you in taking this forward.
Crossing the Threshold is a step by step guide produced by the Diocese of Hereford for churches wanting to develop the use of their buildings in partnership with their community.
Making the Business Case for your Project is an excellent toolkit developed by The Churches Conservation Trust. Understanding and setting out exactly how you are going to regenerate your historic building, how much this work will cost and how the building will be used when the work is finished, is key to the success of any project. The toolkit explains how to make a strong business case for heritage regeneration projects.
Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre is an ecumenical resource dedicated to helping rural churches and communities flourish. Particularly useful are their sections on:
- Getting the Most Out of Your Buildings
- Setting up Social Enterprises
- Opening up your Place of Worship
- Equipping for Rural Mission
National Churches Trust is an independent charity that supports places of worship to remain at the heart of their communities. Their Friends Group Toolkit guides you through options for formally involving your community in caring for your church building.
Our own Diocesan Church Buildings team have also developed a wealth of information on maintaining, developing and funding church buildings, all of which can be accessed here.