If your church went away tomorrow, what difference would it make to the surrounding community? Would anyone outside of it care? Would anyone lobby for it to come back and continue its work?

Most people are naturally tuned into the radio station WIIFM: What’s in it for me? By that measure, most people in the community view churches as irrelevant. They don’t contribute anything helpful.

Yet if we are living as disciples of Jesus should be, our churches would make a difference. They would leave a hole if they were gone. The poor wouldn’t receive food, kids wouldn’t be tutored, neighborhood cleanup projects would go undone. Being part of a people of faith means personal involvement in a Christian community that is making a difference and bringing about societal change.

Churches are not supposed to be supplemental or reactive… they were designed to be agents of transformation and renewal impacting the surrounding community. If that’s something you long for your faith community to be a part of, the Community Transformation guide outlines how all the pieces fit together. It covers these five topics over the course of five-weeks:

  • Participating in a faith community that reaches outside of itself
  • Praying for healing and reconciliation in society
  • Involving yourself in social justice needs in the broader community
  • Caring for God’s creation in practical ways
  • Helping others cultivate healthy lives and relationships

Together or with others, you can use this guide to think through how your faith community can serve the world around you. Each section includes thoughts on the topic, relevant scripture passages, practical ideas and exercises, coaching questions, and application.

Check out these sample sections:

man-urban-slum-mexico-streetCommunity transformation means that we, as followers of Jesus, are actively contributing to positive change in the broader community—not just within the church—in cooperation with God’s work and presence there. God is already at work in the world. The question is how we as his Body can cooperate and participate in what he is doing. Community transformation means our personal involvement alongside others to facilitate positive change where we live and beyond.

Too often we look for change only in ourselves or only within our churches. God has much bigger arenas in mind to display his power. After all, he sent Jesus to earth for all of humanity. He wants the blind to see, prostitutes redeemed, the poor thriving, tyrants overthrown, children of the slums learning and contributing to changing their world. Our picture of God and what he wants to do is consistently too small.

  • Revelation 21:5a
  • Ephesians 3:20-21

Discipleship questions:

  • How can your faith community mirror the love of God to the broader community around you? When people look at your community from the outside, what do they see?
  • How could you work together with others to serve more effectively than you could alone?
  • Who might you need to work alongside?
  • How can you serve in ways that bring widespread change to the larger community?
  • What effects would you like to see result from your ministry? Describe the vision.

Exercise: Prayer

Ask God to break your heart over the things that break his heart. Ask him to bring about healing and reconciliation. Ask God to show you where he is at work.


  • In light of this, what is God asking you to do?
  • How will you do this?
  • When will you do this?
  • Who will help you?

If you are ready to take the next step in your faith community—to reach outward as well as to grow inwardly—check out the 20-page downloadable Community Transformation discipleship guide. The Spanish version can be seen here.

Click here to browse all of the discipleship guides.