How To Know Everything About Your Local Community

I don’t want to brag but I know a lot about my local community. Those police helicopters buzzing around this morning: I know the address of the house the police were surrounding. That family that lost their house in a fire, I know where they live. I know who got broken into last night and where they live. I know where all the car prangs happen and I can even tell you the traffic right now. I know the best rated Indian, Chinese and Thai take way, and I know who is selling what. I know that Kathy in Smith Drive is selling her unused baby change table. I know who is moving out and who is moving in. How do I know this? I would like to say it’s thanks to being the gregarious and well connected individual that I am. The truth is that it’s thanks to a tool that every church should be using.

Facebook Groups are now common in each community covering a range of topics, from neighbourhood watch through to buy and sell. These groups offer up a range of information for churches hungry to connect with people in their local community and to be a force for good and a resource for the needy. Here’s some tips on making Facebook Groups work for you:

  1. Care Needs Intelligence

I recently noticed a local church ask about the details of a family that lost everything in a fire. Here’s a church that is using Facebook Groups to pick up on local care emergencies so that they can provide valuable help in time of need. Apart from the blessing to the family concerned it spoke volumes to the thousands of members on the page. Every day in your local community someone is being robbed, someone is having a tragic day, something very bad goes wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice if at every opportunity the church was there to lend a caring hand?

2. Community Leadership

Find a gap where a Facebook Group may be needed in your local community. It could be a swap site so that people can acquire what they need by way of a swap, or a neighbourhood watch group. Find ways in which you can provide a valuable service to your community and take the time to initiate and manage the site. If there’s no obvious needs members of your congregation can help out on existing sites. Most groups need constant moderation to deal with trolls and abusive people. Christians can be a voice of moderation and engage in bridge building through these forums.

3. Community Discussion

Facebook Groups are fast overtaking Google for the number one place to go first to ask a question about something local. By participating in groups you can find out what people are inquisitive about, and pick up the pulse of your community. The best way to pick up on community needs is to be active and for face to face interactions to be the primary knowledge point about your community. Facebook Groups help us increase the amount we can know about the people of our local community and what makes them tick. A lot of the information will be neither here nor there but among all the content that you simply scroll past there is the odd gem that helps churches understand and respond to their local community in specific ways.

Stan Fetting is the Operations Manager of Crossover.