I am aware of the powerful impact of church planting that is highly organized, planned and well funded. The short and long term effects are well worth the efforts. It is really amazing to see the phenomenal growth when you begin your first service with several hundred people. In this series of posts, I want to explore another approach which I believe is accessible to more people.
This focuses on building a small community of those who are followers of Jesus and those warmed by His fire. In last week’s post, I mentioned Three Basic Tasks that are important for such an effort to have a long term impact. It requires one leader who is committed to the group for a long time. Along with the leader caring for the group, the members must provide mutual care. Intentional outreach as individuals and as a group is essential to fulfill the command of Christ.
If the leader and the entire group can stay focused on these three tasks, that small group can grow and develop into a church that impacts the community. The trajectory of growth will be gradual, but this process can be done by almost anyone who has a calling. The development and growth of the leader will be parallel with the growth of the group.
God’s connection with people began with relationships. With Adam and Eve, God spent time with them walking through the garden. It shows a relationship that was personal. To redirect people back to his ways, he sent his prophets. To redeem people, he sent His one and only son Jesus. He came and spent his life building relationships.
Opportunities to connect with people in your community needs to be relational. When it is relational, it is natural. When it is set up as a program, it is fake, and never lasts. Surely it won’t be meaningful.
Look for opportunities to relate naturally. Be intentional to put yourself in situations where you connect with your friends. Never do this only for the sake of networking with others. Do it because you genuinely care about others. Do it because you love to help people to face life with all its difficulties.
Be generous enough with your time to build relationships. Of course you need to guard your personal and family time. Make your priorities clear for yourself and others as well. You don’t want to spread yourself out too thin.
For some, the opposite is true. They guard their time so much that they go to the other extreme. They absolutely have time for no one except themselves and their families. Learn to be generous with your time. Build friendships personally and as a family. Be a connecting family, a helping family.
When you are generous with your time and build genuine relationships, the opportunities for evangelism will be all around you. Let God take the lead. Allow Him to open doors through the relationships you have already built.
When needs, pain, and struggles are shared, that is the time to be genuine in reaching out with the love of Jesus. Don’t be pushy or begin to preach at people. Just be there for them when they are in need. Share the love of Jesus with them. Tell them about the difference that Jesus has made in your life.
Relational Church Planter
A Church Planter who takes a relational approach considers programs second, and makes relationships primary. Instead of thinking of the next program to reach your community, think about the next relationship that will help to reach your community. Keep building relationships, and keep responding to needs. Next thing you know, you’ll have a church in your hands.