Philadelphia Church Adopts a Grass-Roots Approach to Community Outreach

John Brice was a young, energetic man, fresh out of seminary when he was appointed as senior pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in urban Philadelphia. Eager to meet his first congregation, he had visions of leading a mix of seniors, adults, children and millennials. Brice’s face fell, however, when he stepped into the sanctuary and saw just six people.

“I said, ‘OK, Lord. Now what?’” recalls Brice. That’s when he decided to take a grass-roots approach to growing the ministry by going door to door in the church’s neighborhood and asking people what they wanted.

“My district supervisor and I asked folks, ‘What do you need from us?’ rather than saying, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do for you,’” he explains. “We directly connected with the community so we could build the ministry based on their vision.” Learn more…