One of our first tasks as church planters in a new city is to become experts on our community. In a metro this size, that can be overwhelming. We currently live in the Southeast Metro in Mesa, AZ. Mesa is home to over 450,000 people. That is roughly the size of Atlanta, GA! One of the methods we are using to become familiar with our surroundings is called community mapping.
Community mapping helps us to chart the reality that is our mission field. What is life like for our neighbors? We find out by observation and asking lots of questions. What are the housing conditions? Where do people spend their money? Where do people gather and spend their free time? Who are the local heroes? What churches are already in the area and how are they serving the community? What are the local issues that keep people awake at night? Where are the points of light or darkness?
You can use your map to keep track of all kinds of valuable information. Where are people most open to spiritual conversations? Where are they most resistant? Where are the physical or social barriers?
When creating your map, it is important to work within a two mile radius from where you live or where your church meets. Most people who are new to faith will not travel more than two miles to get to church.
You can learn more about community mapping from Stan Granberg at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=46wPk0VeFSw
How well do you know your community?