I've written previously about ten ideas that have shaped my philosophy of ministry. One of those ten ideas can be summed up in the phrase crowd-to-core.
What does crowd-to-core mean? Essentially, it means that instead of pouring everything into the most committed members with the expectation (or hope) that they will then go out and win others or disciple others (core to crowd), crowd to core focuses on building next steps that will help the crowd take steps and move toward Christ, toward the core.
This is Purpose Driven Church terminology. Based on Rick Warren's concentric circles (community, crowd, congregation, committed, and core), it is easy to see how it works conceptually. I describe our strategy by saying we want to provide next steps for every Ridger and first steps for their friends.
Crowd-to-core is the opposite of a core-to-crowd strategy. If you've ever heard someone talk about discipling or investing in the core and committed (in anticipation of them investing in their friends), you've been listening to core-to-crowd strategy. In some ways crowd-to-core versus core-to-crowd is a key difference between cell group philosophy and a number of small group strategies.
Core-to-crowd sounds good. It is often characterized as Jesus' strategy (i.e., He invested in His disciples and they invested in the next generation, etc.). And while some of what Jesus did can be interpreted as core-to-crowd, it isn't the best explanation for Jesus' pattern of ministry to the crowd or His frequent challenge to the crowd to act on what they had heard (i.e., "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."). Crowd-to-core is actually a better explanation for what happened at Pentecost (and indeed much of what happened in the Book of Acts).
And it's not that a degree of core-to-crowd doesn't happen. It simply isn't the foundation upon which the primary ministry strategy is built. As a crowd-to-core strategy and philosophy is established, it is only a matter of time until the next steps you've designed lead sequentially to the congregation, committed and core. What are some of the next steps you develop for members of the core and committed and congregation? Developing mission ownership and activating ones gift-based, passion-driven ministry.
Image by Sérgio Bernardino
Need to up your game in the development of next steps and first steps? Join me for my newest mini-course: How to Design NEXT Steps and FIRST Steps.