Strive to be great ambassadors for Christ to a watching world.  Make discipleship a top priority.  Have church leaders - both laypeople and clergy - work with people in your congregation to help them keep moving forward in their relationships with Christ.  Regularly intercede in prayer for all your church members.  Seek wisdom as a church body before making decisions that affect the life of your church.  You can do this by asking whether or not what you're considering is consistent with the Bible and whether or not it will make a positive impact on your community. 

Realize that your community is your witness to the world about what God is like.  Decide to do all you can to pour God's love out into your surrounding community - the local area around your church - in tangible ways.  Form partnerships with other community organizations (such as charities, schools, shelters, and civic groups) to work together on issues facing your city.  Support events and activities in your larger community by volunteering time and donating money. 

For example, your church could help with your town's annual Fourth of July parade or sponsor a local sports league. Minister directly to your neighbors by appointing a lay minister to represent your church in each neighborhood from which your church draws people.  Train these lay ministers to respond to neighborhood needs as they arise, by praying with people and providing practical support such as meals and other help. Realize that God has called your church to embody His character and act as His hands and feet in your part of the world.

Adapted from It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian: How the Community of God Transforms Lives, copyright 2004 by Tod E. Bolsinger. Published by Brazos Press, a division of Baker Book House Company,

Tod E. Bolsinger is senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church in San Clemente, California.