Welcome to week 5 of my 6-week blog series, “Igniting Growth In Your Church.” Happy Thursday to you, once again. My hope is that this series is consistently pushing you further in your study of evangelism by giving you special insight into my new book, Ignite: How To Spark Immediate Growth In Your Church.
Last week, we discovered how you can best mobilize your people for evangelism. This week, we are going to take a look at how you can use promotion effectively by targeting your “best fields.”
Promotion: How to Pinpoint Your Best Fields
Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed gives us great insight into the idea of promotion. (Take a minute to read the account in Mark 4:3-9.) The first principle Jesus wants to teach us through the wise farmer in his parable is this: Before you scatter your seed, Pinpoint Your Best Fields.
In order to sow effectively, you have to know what fields to scatter your seed in. You have to identify and concentrate on the most fertile soil and use seed that will take root there. Otherwise your efforts will be in vain. To identify your best fields, ask yourself these questions:
1. Who am I currently reaching?
If God is predominately bringing a certain type of person to your church, that’s a good indicator of who you are most equipped to reach.
A few years ago, the average age of Journey attenders was 27. That has increased a little now, but we’ve always had a special outreach with the late 20-somethings. So, we focused our seed-sowing on soil that would reach that group. We created invitations that would be appealing to them. We thought about how we could connect with them in their current reality.
2. Who is like me?
You are best equipped to reach people who are like you. That’s a fact of human nature. You will attract who you are.
A wise pastor-friend of mind once wrote, “If you are a pastor, you must honestly ask yourself, ‘What kind of person am I? What is my cultural background? What kind of people do I naturally relate to and what kind do I have a harder time understanding?’ You need to do a frank analysis of who you are and the type of people to whom you relate best.”
3. Who is not churched?
Your best fields are in the middle of the unchurched. If some of your promotion falls into the hands of Christians involved in other churches, so be it. But current Christians should not be your target. Instead, keep your attention focused on those who are unchurched in your community. God is working in their lives. Concentrate on pointing them toward His hope.
If you aren’t sure how to begin outreach to the unchurched, start by focusing on people who are under tension, undergoing transition, or in trouble. Time and time again, I have found that people are most open to hearing the truth of the gospel when God has them in one of these three situations.
Understanding these three Ts – tension, transition and trouble – will exponentially increase your effectiveness in the unchurched world. In fact, let me encourage you to do an exercise that will help you focus in on the types of T situations that the people around you are dealing with…
Pull the key leaders in your church together and talk through the greatest tensions and trouble they see in the lives of those they live around every day. Ask them to think about what kind of transitions they see people facing. Sketch all of these down and then begin planning outreach that will connect with those experiencing such, tension, transition and trouble. Think about planning a big day kick-off sermon around the greatest felt-need that comes up in your discussion.
One final warning note – Don’t get caught up in the seed that lands on rocky ground, gets eaten by the birds or gets scorched by the sun. God calls us to focus on the fertile soil. The enemy is always going to be working against our efforts to bring people into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. If we focus on what he is doing, we lose our clarity on what God wants to do.
For more in depth study on effectively evangelizing your community, make sure to pick up Ignite: How To Spark Immediate Growth In Your Church. You may also want to check out my popular resource, “The Evangelism System.” Just click here.
Next week, we’ll wrap up this “Igniting Growth In Your Church” series by looking at how to prepare for and follow up with the people who say “yes!” to being your guest! Don’t miss it!
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