More thoughts on how to introduce myself to the unchurched. Most of the last week has been spent sorting out the house and making numerous trips to Ikea, Homebase and places like that, so we haven’t met too many more people over the last few days, but I have been thinking more about the language to use when meeting people and trying to explain what I’m doing. For example, why would the church employ someone somewhere where there is no church and congregation?
I have already decided that the phrase “Community Minister” makes more sense to the unchurched than “Pioneer Minister”, but it still needs some unpacking in these initial stages where I have no church or congregation. Here are some scenarios which could come up in conversation
I’m the new community minister, here to try to form a new church.
The drawback with this one is the word ‘church’. I wonder if ‘the phrase forming a new church’ will automatically turn people off as they will have a stereotype of what church is (and why they don’t already go)
I’m the new community minister. My job is to help form fresh expressions of church.
To the non-church-goer, this is just jargon and may sound like the church trying to be cool. There’s a lot more to fresh expressions than that.
As the new community minister, I’m here to help the church engage with the community better in this area.
The question that might arise from this one is “which church do you work for”. The answer is, of course, no specific church but the diocese in general. It might lead the conversation down the wrong track.
I’m the new community minister, here to support the community in whatever ways are needed.
Initially, this is probably more accurate. My initial brief is to get to know people and to find out ways to support them. From here the conversation might lead to how I might support the community, and then we can start talking about residents groups, toddler groups etc. and see where it leads.