30 Things Your Church Can DO to Affect CHANGE!

Christopher C. Thompson

“Too often we’re asking police to man the barricades in communities that have been forgotten by all of us for way too long…”

-Barack Obama

This has been a really long week. For many of us it’s been hard to think about much else other than the tragedies in Louisiana, Minnesota and most recently Dallas. In the midst of the traumatic shock of the events, the one oasis I found was in President Obama’s impromptu speech on the issue. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch the entire speech here. But, It was his words at the close of the speech that gave me such great encouragement and hope. It was the very last thing he said before leaving the podium. “Too often we’re asking police to man the barricades in communities that have been forgotten by all of us for way too long–in terms of sub-standard schools, inadequate jobs and a lack of opportunity. We gotta tackle those things. We can do better. And I believe we will do better.”

I was deeply inspired and rebuked at the same time. The POTUS was basically telling us that if we want this stuff to get better, we have to buckle down in areas where we have always said we’re committed to affecting change. These communities where these tragic occurrences are taking place are cauldrons of unrest because people are underserved. Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas; you name a city, and you’re certainly bound to have a large underserved population where violence, crime, and the like are the norm. These are symptomatic of the larger issues of unmet needs, exacerbated by systems of injustice and oppression.

We need new systems of support to rally around these communities, to make them safer and to better serve the people and families who live in them. So here’s an actionable list designed to help you and your church make change in your community. Here are 30 items that I guarantee will help prevent crime, decrease violence, decrease the unemployment rate, and a whole lot more. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a journey of a thousand miles begins with one solitary step. So here’s a step counter. Let’s take action.


  1. Have members pray at 9:06 pm each day for the next week for God to help us stop the violence and find solutions for peace.
  2. Organize a weekly service that is exclusively geared for praying for your church and community.
  3. Organize a support group (grief, divorce, etc.).
  4. Preach sermons/teach a bible study series on crime, racism, violence and related issues.
  5. Reach out to other churches to make a unified statement in the form of a panel discussion, conference, peaceful demonstration, etc. which culminates in a joint worship event.


  1. Start an after-school mentoring/tutoring program.
  2. Organize a mom’s day out program.
  3. Start a state-licensed early learning center.
  4. Provide free arts classes for community children (dance, drum, piano, etc.).
  5. Organize a volunteer task force to support neighborhood schools.


  1. Organize and host a town hall meeting with local political leaders to discuss issues regarding race, local legislation issues, etc.
  2. Organize a task force to register residents to vote.
  3. Call, write, visit local, state, federal political leaders and share with them specific requests that have been predetermined as essential by the local community.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Political power is collective power. Join with reputable groups/organizations that share your interests and convictions and support their efforts.
  5. Identify a person who has totally different views than you and commit to building a civil, tolerant relationship and maintaining dialogue with them about pressing issues.

Public Safety

  1. Organize and host a town hall meeting with local public safety officials to discuss issues (i.e. crime, police brutality, etc.) facing underserved communities.
  2. Check with state, city, borough, municipalities, etc. to determine what the standards are for screening and training police in your area. Offer ideas for training and support for training exercises.
  3. Organize and train a public safety/security task force to promote safety in high-risk neighborhoods.
  4. Build, strengthen relationships with local police by formal and informal get-togethers in an effort to help them connect with community members.
  5. Train youth on strategies for engaging police as well as understanding local laws regarding policing, traffic stops, etc.


  1. Organize/host a job fair.
  2. Host a first time home buyers/financial literacy course.
  3. Start a savings club.
  4. Organize a small business training seminar/training program.
  5. Start a small business designed to serve the community (i.e. landscaping, restaurant) and hire community residents.

Health & Wellness

  1. Start a community garden.
  2. Start a fitness class/club.
  3. Organize a farmer’s market for your neighborhood.
  4. Start a free health clinic.
  5. Pay for prescriptions for needy residents.

There are varying degrees of difficulty and complexity here, but there is something that every church, pastor and parishioner can do to promote and create the beloved community where they are. It’s almost time for the Lord to come, but he has commanded us to occupy until he comes (Lk. 19:13). Here’s what it looks like when you’re fully occupied. Luke 12:43 (GWT) reads “That servant will be blessed if his master finds him doing this job when he comes.”This is not an exhaustive list. And these are not novel or original ideas. Big shout-out to Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III, Dr. Charles Dorsey, and Dr. Donovan Washington for their input and support in compiling this list. If you have an idea or an action item that has worked in your community please share it in the comments section or in our Facebook forum. None of us have all the answers, but by working together, we can create real, lasting change. Let’s work until our ultimate, eternal change comes. Maranatha!

Christopher C. Thompson

Christopher C.

Dr. Christopher C. Thompson currently serves as Communication Director for the Southeastern Conference of SDA. As a pastor, author, teacher and church resource developer who is passionate about the spiritual growth process, he works tirelessly to develop tools to aid pastors and parishioners alike. Click below to follow him on twitter or visit his website.

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