Over at Church Planting Village (dot net), there’s a discussion and set of tools for ministering to the multihousing community. That’s the generic term for apartments, condos, residence hotels, and campgrounds, places where lots of people live close together “with shared amenities.” They define the opportunity this way:

Sixty percent of the unchurched population in North America, some 120 million people, lives in multihousing communities. Left unevangelized, that figure could rise because the numbers of people in multihousing communities, which include apartments, condominiums, manufactured housing, and public housing, is increasing.

Our tradition methods of evangelizing are geared to families living in the suburbs or rural communities. But that’s not where the prospects are. If your church is near one of these multihousing communities, and your attendance is dwindling, you might consider establishing a ministry there.

As the site says, it will take some time building relationship with the manager, because if you try overt evangelism in today’s security-conscious environment, you will be asked to leave and not allowed back. Short, focused meetings about setting up a Bible study or social / service project should be the topic. Don’t worry about evangelizing the owner right away. Rather, focus your attention on showing how what you do benefits the tennants. Things like:

  • backyard Bible club to keep the kids occupied for a few hours a day. This is either a full-week VBS-style camp or a once-weekly break for the parents.
  • laundry support ministry
  • Mobile food kitchen
  • Educational classes on site

Ask the manager what services the tennants would benefit from, and let the Spirit lead on how you can fill those needs.

Once you have a beachhead established with one or more tenants, they become the site hosts and the funnel for future ministry, and the opportunity opens to bring them into the full fellowship of your congregation.

You can find the resources here.