To whom has your church been sent?

Posted: February 1, 2013 by efenster in Ideas

UM Faith SharingWho is God calling your church to intentionally reach?  Or to ask it the way I recently heard Michael Frost ask it, “To whom have you been sent?”  Frost says that if you can’t answer this question, then you aren’t in the game.

That is, unless a church is clear about who God is specifically calling it to reach, serve, and disciple, it simply isn’t going to make a consequential difference for the Kingdom.  Your community may not notice much difference if your church were to cease existing…

Most churches I work with when asked who they’re trying to reach quickly answer, “Everyone!”  They bristle at the thought of limiting their focus.  The reality, however, is that they aren’t reaching everyone, that they are limiting who they are reaching by the decisions they are making.

  • Are their worship services only on Sunday mornings?  Then they have decided not to reach those unavailable on Sunday mornings.
  • Is there a clean, updated nursery with consistent, well-trained care providers?  If not, they’ve decided not to reach families with young children.
  • Are their worship services only available to English speakers?  Then they have decided to not reach those who aren’t fluent in English.
  • Are their worship services signed?  If not, they’ve decided not to reach those who depend on communicating via sign language.
  • Do they use a particular style of music?  If so, there are many for whom such music won’t appeal.
  • Does the worship service have more than 50 people?  Then it likely won’t be attractive to those seeking a small, family-feel service.
  • Does the worship service have fewer than 50 people?  Then it will be difficult to attract outsiders who feel uncomfortable joining a group of people that already know each other.

The bottom line is that no church can reach everyone.   And if a church isn’t clear as to who it is God is calling it to reach, it is likely to reach no one, except the folks already there.

So, to whom has your church been sent?  Don’t be left out of the game!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development


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