Did you know there are around 50,000 Christian congregations in the UK, and more church buildings than pubs? In fact, the area I live in rather randomly has no pubs but has six churches – all within a mile of each other. I’m spoilt for choice (unless I want a drink)!

While the pandemic will have affected some churches’ attendance and even their existence, churches are still spread across the UK, many are growing (my church added 100 members last summer) and they are often uniquely placed at the heart of communities. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, if the last two years have taught society anything it is that life is precious and not to be taken for granted, and that everyone needs hope – the hope that we know is only found in Jesus.

The last two years has taught me, and I suspect many of us, lots about community. When I put leaflets through every door on my street at the beginning of the pandemic, offering to collect shopping for elderly neighbours or just have a chat on the phone, the response was immediate and positive. At a time of crisis, people need to know someone cares. Life has been hard for so many, especially for those without hope. But how do we share the life changing news of Jesus as a church, with people in our community?

"As believers we are God’s plan A for the world, as we seek to worship our heavenly Father daily through our words and our actions."

Where is our treasure?

A great place to start, as an individual as well as a church community, is reflecting on what is precious to us and how we see God. What does it mean to know God’s unending, overwhelming love for us? Is that something we want for our loved ones, let alone everyone else? I’m currently using The Word One to One notes with a non-Christian friend because I realised he felt hopeless. So I invited him, and he said yes. (The worst he could have said was no).

One of my favourite scriptures is Isaiah 6:8 which says this: Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah’s desire is to serve God and respond to God’s calling. It has taken me 20 years to invite my friend to read the Bible with me, and I have since asked myself why it took me that long. As believers we are God’s plan A for the world, as we seek to worship our heavenly Father daily through our words and our actions.

Commission impossible?

I don’t know about your church, but most churches are good at welcoming people into their building at key events, weddings, baptisms and of course Christmas. It becomes harder when it comes to going out into the community, and yet in the great commission the disciples are instructed to go”.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to engage – organising a curry night at a local restaurant and asking church members to invite a friend, giving out bags of kindness” like Holy Trinity Brompton church did at Christmas, or putting up a table in town at weekends offering free coffee. And then there is old fashioned door knocking – two or three of you introducing yourself from the local church and asking if there is anything you can pray for. My brother Simon, a missionary at London City Mission, took a small group from his church door-knocking and he met a man who was a postman who lived alone and was profoundly lonely. Simon got to know him and eventually shared Jesus with him.

Are your feet beautiful?

Isaiah 52:7 says, How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news”. You may not feel like an evangelist but that’s okay, because it is the Holy Spirit who does the heavy lifting. We need to pray, plan and persevere. It may be a group of you knocking on doors, it may be you plucking up the courage to arrange a social event or just picking up the phone to invite someone. Is there one person you could commit to praying for today, or an initiative with your church family you could think about trying? Whatever you do next and however you seek to share Jesus with others, know that in doing so you are doing the most beautiful thing you could ever do.