At a recent planter gathering here in Kansas City, one of our planters asked the following question during roundtable discussion:
What can I do to better create a culture of evangelism and discipleship in my plant?
No doubt this is a question with which a lot of church planters struggle. Many times, growth does not meet expectations, and the result can be a lot of disappointment and frustration.
A few Send KC planters offered suggestions too good not to share.
1. Do a few things well rather than many things poorly.
This may seem obvious, but many planters stretch themselves and their limited resources too thin. Find one or two areas where your plant can excel and grant those areas priority. Are your people hospitable? Try hosting an event for your community. Are they generous and faithful givers? Adopt a local school and provide lunches and classroom supplies for underprivileged students.
In other words, strive for excellence in a couple of areas instead of striving for mediocrity in several.
2. Meet five new people each month.
Churches cannot grow if leaders do not form new relationships. Go to the same places at the same times–the gym, grocery store, a favorite coffee shop, etc. Set a tangible goal to use those places to form five new relationships each month. With time and consistency, those relationships can grow into friendships, and those friends may grow into disciples.
At the least, people in your community ought to know you and like you. Strive to make that happen.
3. Burn your ship.
Many communities are used to seeing churches and their leaders come and go. Make the sort of investments in your community that show you are there to stay. Evangelism and discipleship conversations in your community will grow out of honest efforts to become entrenched in your environment.
Don’t just live in your city or town, be a neighbor. Attend PTA meetings. Establish rapport with local business owners. Befriend local elected officials. In other words, prove that you care enough about your community to stay in it.
4. Prove your credibility.
“Can I trust this guy?” is the question people in your community are asking themselves. What have you done to prove you are worthy of their trust? Sadly, many people outside the church think of Christians as people who claim to care about others but really don’t.
One group member shared how his church adopted the local police department and committed to providing care packages for its officers–boxes filled with granola bars, pens and pencils, flashlights, Bibles, etc. Simple gestures like that can show the community that you care. Consistency in those gestures can show that they aren’t just a gimmick–a lead-in to your sales pitch.
In order to catalyze evangelism and discipleship in your plant’s community:
- Do a few things well.
- Meet five new people each month.
- Burn your ship.
- Prove your credibility.
Excellence in these areas is sure to help demolish boundaries between you and your community and enable you to carry the gospel to people near to you and far from God.