Knowing your congregation and community

Churches exist within the context of their local community, with members and adherents both sharing a number of common characteristics as well as reflecting a diverse community with varied cultural and life experiences, some of which may well relate to how vulnerable people are looked after or cared for.

There may also be a mismatch between the worshipping community and those community groups or private organisations who hire our premises. It is therefore important that church leaders develop a common view about who and what groups make up the wider church community so that they can plan their approach to safeguarding adults who may be vulnerable.

For example:

  • Is the congregation all elderly?
  • Are there significant numbers of disabled people accessing worship or activities?
  • Are church members from minority communities with strong traditions of providing family support to elders?
  • Is poverty a key element which determines capacity for individuals to be resilient or maintain good health?

Having answers to these questions will help churches understand their preventive, pastoral role better.