More Than Counting

Imagine having the opportunity to get to know people in your own community in a non-threatening way. Just think about what you might learn if you could go door-to-door through neighborhoods and ask basic questions of the people who live there. Now envision getting paid while gathering this information that will help you lead your congregation to better minister to the people who live all around you.

 

Every 10 years, the United States Census Bureau hires part-time, temporary census workers to work in their own communities. Personally, I can’t think of a better opportunity for Christians to take a fresh look at the people who live around our churches than to participate in the Census. And good news: you can still apply! Schedules are flexible to work around your life, but typically require 20 hours per week of evening and weekend work, May to July. Employees are paid for training and reimbursed for travel in addition to a generous hourly wage. To learn more and apply online, go to 2020census.gov/jobs.

 

When we read about a census in the Bible, they not always seen in a positive light. A census was typically taken to prepare the military for war or for taxation of the people which was often unfair and exploitative. Obviously, neither of these purposes are particularly noble! Thankfully, the purpose of the U.S. Census every ten years has nothing to do with going to war or taxation. Instead, census data helps to direct federal dollars towards communities proportionately as well as ensuring fair governmental representation. Nearly every civic leader agrees that it is absolutely critical that everyone is accurately counted.

 

Aside from all the community benefits of a census, I cannot help but wonder what God might do if faithful and loving, Christian men and women took to the streets to knock on doors as census workers! Obviously as an employee of the U.S. Government, census workers cannot overtly evangelize on doorsteps or share specific data obtained. But I can envision the powerful prayers that could be prayed privately over homes and through neighborhoods. And I know that the impressions left from front porch encounters will undoubtedly remain in the hearts and minds of Christian census workers and can help inform their church’s future evangelism efforts.

 

I encourage you to take this once-in-a-decade opportunity to help your community by applying for a job as a census worker. And I pray that your experience in taking the census in your community will help you to shape your congregation’s outreach to more meaningfully minister to the people in your community.

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Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at www.harvestworkers.net). Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org.