Missionary Skill No. 37: Identifying Community Challenges

Everywhere people live, you’ll find issues related to living well together. Investigating these can be a great way to learn the story of your city and have meaningful conversation with neighbors. But beware! Choosing to engage with one side of these challenges may negatively affect your ability to engage with the other side. Many well-intentioned Christians accidentally offend people before they even understand the implications of taking sides.

Here are a few examples from the U. S. :

A cab/rideshare driver can be a great cultural informant.

A cab/rideshare driver can be a great cultural informant.

Uber/Lyft vs. Taxis

If you don’t ever use these, you’re missing tremendous opportunities to engage with people in your town. But be careful which option you choose! In many places, traditional cab drivers are being put out of business by unfair practices.

Here’s a great article explaining the issues.

Supporting neighborhood schools can be a complicated matter.

Supporting neighborhood schools can be a complicated matter.

Public vs. charter schools. If you have kids, you need to know the issues around public and charter schools. Even if you don’t have school-age children, it’s a discussion that resonates with every citizen and goes way beyond the education system: should the government support alternatives to public services?

Here’s a summary of the charter school debate.

Public transportation. If you live in the U.S., you may not have the best public transportation system, but trains, trams, and buses help with traffic, pollution, and poverty. Those who rely on these don’t usually have the influence to improve them.

Wired did an article on this that’s worth reading.

Zoning laws. The local government decides how land in your city may be used: residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, etc. Oftentimes, zoning designation is arbitrary and may prevent a neighborhood from developing what it needs. 

Here’s a perfectly nerdy explanation.

Your community has many challenges like these. Investigate them with an open mind, and see what opportunities God provides! #mission #tradecraft #disciplemaking