Picture Your Community Impact


I am averse to numbers. I switched from being an elementary education major during my junior year in college when I discovered that I had to teach third grade math. In grad school, I nearly had to be committed when I had to pass not one but two statistics classes.

But I’ve come to learn an important fact: numbers can inspire. If your congregation is externally focused, start keeping track of how you are impacting your community. Count everything: how much food you are collecting, how many people you are serving in ESL classes, how many hours you are reading to local school children. If your church has a ministry that impacts others, keep track of it.

To really bring the numbers to life, be sure to take plenty of pictures. Ask community members for their permission, but also take pictures of your congregation in action. Nothing inspires others like seeing pictures of people they know being the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.

Then, bring numbers and photographs together. Every year, celebrate what you have done the previous year by compiling a “Community Impact Report.” Send it out to everyone in the congregation, frame it and hang it up around the church, give it out to people who are interested in being a part of an active, vital community of Christ-followers.

The “Community Impact” numbers paired with photos can be inspiring to everyone and reassures them that their gifts matter. And it’s this kind of data that might just make me fall in love with numbers, but don’t hold your breath.

This article is adapted from Cesie’s blog “Inspiring Generosity” and used with permission.

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About Author

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing and a lay leader in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She blogs at Inspiring Generosity, and you may connect with Cesie at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.

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To provide churches an alternative to in-person study groups during this time of social distancing, we have made Journey Through the Psalms available on download. And through April 30 we’ve reduced the price from $75 to only $5 to allow more churches to benefit from distance learning. Learn more and watch a sample video lesson now.