By looking at any local church, we can understand that not all who attend are equally committed to Jesus and his church. These variations in commitment among the people may be quite drastic. At our church in Adoor, we have the entire spectrum of people from those who are fully committed to the least committed attendees.
Years ago, I learned a principle called Circles of Commitment that helped me to understand these variations and minister to people according to their needs. The people in any given church come with various levels of commitment to Christ and to his church. Unless we understand this, we may become disillusioned as we minister to people.
The diagram above illustrates the five levels of commitment that people have as they attend church. Those in the core are fully committed to Jesus and his church. The ones in the outer circle may only come occasionally when there are special programs or when their friends urge them. Our goal is to move people from the outer levels of less commitment to the inner levels of greater commitment.
I consider our community as that large group of people who are loosely connected with our church. Some of these connections are families, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and anyone our people relate with on a daily basis. These people are our first target group for the extension of God’s kingdom and love.
All who attend the worship service are part of the crowd. Many may be unbelievers with no commitment to Jesus, but we encourage them to keep coming. A church that actively reaches out will have a larger crowd. These people will be the first to accept Christ in your church.
Although they are not believers, there is something that draws them to the church. The worship and sermons may not be so meaningful to them, but they certainly will be “warmed” by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Those who have made a firm decision to follow Christ are part of this group, the congregation. If your church has no official membership roll, then these are your members.
These people consider this their church. When there are weddings, funerals, and other important events in their lives, this is the church they call on. These people will come on Sundays, but you will not get any further involvement from them.
Those who take the next step towards maturity in Christ are part of the committed group. These people will attend small groups, other special meetings, and make an attempt to tithe regularly. Once people are in this area, they begin to take more responsibility for their personal lives.
The Core of any church consists of people who are willing to take responsibility for various functions that are important to the church. These people are an integral part of the life of the church.
This is the smallest yet most crucial group for the growth and stability of the church. These are people you can really count on week after week.
*The concepts and the diagram above are from the book Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren.