In Art History a halo would be painted around a person who was holy, divine or enlightened to indicate that they were different than the other characters in the painting. There may be a halo or glow about the local church that signifies the light of Christ bringing illumination to its surroundings.

As we think about the effectiveness of our local churches and ministries, we must ask ‘would the surrounding community feel any effect if we closed the door of our church or ministry?

We believe that the local church is God’s vehicle to reach the world with God’s love. Jesus tells us that the world is watching. If we do something bad, they will shout if from the housetops. If we do something good, they will be drawn to God.

The title ‘Halo Effect’ originates with a study originally done in Philadelphia and more recently in Toronto to answer this question. “What is the economic and social capital effect of a congregation on its community?

The Halo Study[1] recognized that the social and spiritual value of congregations has long been understood, but local faith congregations are also economic engines and community stabilizers contributing to the common good of all. Every person, property and program adds value to its city or town. How significant is this?

The Toronto study completed in 2016 was done with 10 congregations to test the viability of the Philadelphia methodology in the Canadian context. There were minor revisions made to reflect the Canadian culture, society and economy. By measuring 50 value markers including money spent, value of programs for children and youth, suicide prevention, marriage enrichment, soup kitchens, etc., the study showed a combined economic impact of $45 million for the 10 Toronto congregations. Here’s the kicker—for every $1 that you spend on church, the surrounding community benefits $4.77 of value. Money that the city and government do not need to spend because of the impact you make on people’s lives.

You need to know that you are having a salt and light effect on this community.

(You can watch the full message at http://wearegateway.ca/sermon/community-what-weve-learned-part-2/ )