Multifamily Housing Ministry
seeks to assist churches to engage North Carolina large and growing multifamily housing communities with the gospel.
Multifamily housing in North Carolina
North Carolina’s multifamily housing community is both large and growing. As of 2015, 33.7 percent of all occupied homes are considered multifamily housing, which makes up more than 1.2 million of the more than 3.7 million occupied homes in the state. Of the nearly 10.1 million residents of North Carolina, it is estimated that at least 3.3 million people live in multifamily housing contexts.
On average, missiologists claim that 95 percent of residents living in multifamily housing units in North America are unchurched. If this is true for North Carolina, more than 3.2 million of the 3.3 million people living in the multifamily housing communities across our state are not connected with a local church. In Metro Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle, there are approximately 1,900 apartment communities totaling about 390,000 units, which accommodate more than 900,000 residents. This is by far the largest demographic of lostness in North America. We as North Carolina Baptists must respond to this massive mission field of least-reached peoples right here in our own communities.
Types of multifamily housing
Not all multifamily housing communities are the same. In fact, these communities span nearly the entire socioeconomic spectrum. Different multifamily housing communities will accommodate many different types of people. Most often, multifamily housing communities are grouped into four categories — A, B, C and D communities.
A-type communities are expensive luxury lofts, condos, and townhomes that are gated or enclosed with an overabundance of amenities. Many residents of A-type communities are millennials and senior adults.
B-type communities are apartments, condos and townhomes that are gated or enclosed. They too have many amenities, but would not classify at the luxury level.
C-type communities are conventional apartments and townhomes that are not gated or enclosed. Residents in these communities expect certain inconveniences that aren’t associated with type-A or type-B housing.
D-type communities are lower-income apartments, trailer park communities and government subsidized housing. Due to the subsidies, these communities are often governed by the housing authority.
The PEOPLE Plan
Because of the great divide between many of our more traditional churches and the multifamily housing communities in our state, we must develop creative methods of outreach that can begin to take the gospel and Christian community to them rather than expecting them to come to us. If they will not come to us, then we must be willing to go to them. For this reason, we have adopted the PEOPLE plan as our primary strategy among multifamily housing communities, though it may take multiple forms.
All that we do must begin and end in prayer if we are to see true disciple-making movement of God. So before we even begin, we saturate a community with prayer by walking the streets and praying for the people we see.
Engage the people
As you pray through the community, you will begin to see that community the way God sees it. You will begin to understand where He is working and how to come alongside Him in what He is doing. Begin to engage with people through some social, service, support, sports, seasonal or study event. The point at this stage is to build credibility in the community.
Open the Word
We cannot stop at building relationships with the people in these communities, and we don’t want to wait long before we begin to share the gospel with them in clear and simple ways.
Prepare key leaders
Before long, you will begin to see local leaders emerging from the community. Invest in these young leaders to equip them to minister to their own community.
Launch a ministry
Once you have local leaders rising up, begin a sustainable ministry alongside of those leaders (i.e., a kids' club or an adult Bible study).
Exit with care
From the background, continue to invest in the leaders that you have raised up from within the community as you carefully leave the center of the community and ministry.
Approaches in multifamily housing ministry
While the PEOPLE plan involves a simple, reproducible, adaptable and affordable strategy, there are several models through which we have seen this plan work.
A local church goes into a community to work.
A person or couple moves into a community to work.
A ‘missional community’ is started on-site with leadership from within.
What can you do?
We are in desperate need for laborers to champion these least-reached communities across our state. Will you and your church take responsibility for a multifamily housing community near you? Let our catalysts help you get started in developing and implementing an engagement strategy for the multifamily housing communities in your city.