Meet together as a whole church with community representatives to agree on the response to the community survey. Both church and community need to ‘own’ these decisions so people will remain committed to giving their support. Place people into small groups, giving each group just one area of need to discuss.

Ask each group to discuss possible ways in which the church could respond to this particular need. What could be done by working together to make a real difference? Encourage people to be imaginative. After an hour they should agree together on two or three positive responses. Now give each group another topic to discuss. Finally, let each group share their decisions with the whole church.

Spend time in prayer to seek God’s guidance. Then agree together on the church’s response. It is better to achieve positive and encouraging results in meeting just one or two small areas of need at first, before moving on to other areas of need.

Commission a small co-ordinating team of six to ten people to meet together and plan how to move forward. The team should include men and women of all ages. Encourage people to pray for them and to pass on their ideas, thoughts and concerns to the team.

  • Read Luke 7:11-23. This passage describes some of the great wonders of healing that Jesus did. It also tells of his response to John the Baptist’s question about whether he really was the Messiah. Think about the impact on the everyday lives of the people touched in such a remarkable way by Jesus.
    • What would being able to see and walk mean economically to the blind and lame in the time of Jesus?
    • Lepers were social outcasts. What impact would being cleansed of leprosy have on them?
    • What would be the greatest blessing to the deaf if they were able to hear?
    • Why did Jesus have compassion on the widow and her son?
    • Jesus brought good news of salvation to the poor in ways that affected the whole of their lives. As his followers we should do the same in his name.
    • In what ways are we involved in this or similar work? Could we be doing more?
    • What is the warning from God if we ignore those in need around us?
    • What is our response to this passage?
  • Who should be chosen for the co-ordinating team? How should they be selected? (Try to avoid just selecting people who are already very busy and who show obvious gifts in pastoral care, evangelism or leadership.)
  • What is the church doing already that could be built upon?
  • Consider the issues on which the church has agreed to take action. What can church members do themselves without the need for any outside help?
  • In what ways might outside help be useful? Such outside help could include advice, funding or working with other organisations.
  • How can enthusiasm for supporting these new ideas be maintained within the church?