Friday, September 28, 2007

Reaching Beyond Our Church Walls

How can be more effective in outreach or evangelism? Take a look at this brief post I wrote for Christian Ministry class.

Only by knowing your target will you know what language to speak. Paul addressed Jews differently than Gentiles. Beside English speakers, we have ethnic groups speaking only Portuguese and Hispanic in this town. Cultural, intellectual, economic and other differences abound. Effective communication demands knowledge. “We were doing pretty well except … one dreadful night we tried out hip-hop worship on a bunch of white indie rocker kids.”[1] In starting a service blindly:

I had failed to think missionally about who we would reach out with, who we would reach out to, or how we would reach out …I had wrongly thought only attractionally … if I had a good band and … preached a good sermon, we could put together a good event that would attract lots of people … I failed miserably. As this train wreck of a church service rolled along … it became painfully clear that I had …to pull the plug and pronounce the death sentence.[2]

Warren states, “…human beings are so different, no single church can possibly reach everyone.”[3] He illustrates this with a radio station trying diverse musical styles as its format: classical, heavy metal etc. Who would listen? Driscoll started an additional service utilizing other musical styles to accomplish reaching the indie rockers as well as the hip-hoppers. Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor 9:22).

Demographic targeting involves customs, culture, race, economics, education, age, marital status etc. “Young adults … have different hopes and fears than retirees.”[4]Warren writes, “… geographic targeting … means you identify where the people live that you want to reach.”[5] He recommends using a map and determining geographic and time distance from the church. This shows your “evangelistic fishing pond.”[6]

[1] Mark Driscoll, Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 93.

[2] Ibid., 101.

[3] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 156.

[4] Ibid., 164.

[5] Ibid., 161.

[6] Ibid.

The Bible. New International Version.

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