Over the next several decades, many churches will be closing. They will have been unable to fund ministry, or call people who can train them for ministry.
The church should
1) Actively harness online social networking as a part of a more coherent communication strategy. How it does this will require tinkering depending on its cultural context. Westchester is very different than South Carolina.
2) Train priests and laity in the principles of community organizing and development. This means identifying needs and leaders. Community organizing is fundamentally about discerning what people in the community believe about churches. In business it is a bit like “market research.” Evangelicals do this well.
3) Actively create partnerships with other effective institutions. Churches can partner with not-for-profits, becoming a distributor of care. It can also help raise money for those institutions mitigating sorrow.
Facebook, Meetup, myspace and NING allow for excellent opportunities to assist with gathering people. There is still a fair amount of learning with this.
The principles of organzing is another way of building the “priesthood of all believers” and is essentially sof-style evangelism. This is the primary way people create “buzz.” The church becomes the voice of those people who are in the church’s radar.
Last, by partnering with other organizations, we harness and enhance our own effectiveness and visibility. Too often the church is insular and invisible.