Three Keys to Connecting Beyond the Core and Committed

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circlesWorking to connect beyond the usual suspects?  Beyond the core and committed (to use Saddleback’s terminology)?

You may occasionally connect someone from the outer edge of the congregation or crowd with a business as usual strategy…but you won’t connect many.  And you won’t connect anywhere near the number you need to…unless you develop an understanding of these keys:

First, you need genuine, fresh-eyes insight into the real interests of the unconnected people in your church.  Not what you wish they were interested in.  Not what you hope they care about.  And definitely not what they should be open to.

If you want to connect beyond the usual suspects you must be able to see the world, the world of unconnected people, for what it really is.  You need to know what their interests and hopes and frustrations and longings actually are.

This discovery will require spending time with them.  In order to really understand them you’ll have to go where they are, do what they do, listen to the radio stations they listen to, watch the TV shows and movies they’re watching.

Like any truly effective missionary…you will have to genuinely know their world.  See An In But Not Of M.O.

Three resources I’ve found extremely helpful are The Next Christians, Rumors of God and The Church in an Age of Crisis.

Second, you need to see your own existing programs and strategies and curriculum for what they really are.  A casual assessment will not get the job done.  A careful, brutally honest, diagnosis is what is absolutely required.

If you want to connect beyond the usual suspects you must see the potential of what you’re currently doing with eyes wide open.

How will you do this?  It won’t be easy.  To honestly assess your existing programs and strategies and curriculum will take time and energy as well as the willingness to ask tough questions.  Asking tough questions almost always probes in the cavities of a long lost why.  Do enough probing and feelings will almost certainly be hurt.  See Diagnosis: Brutal Honesty about Your Present, The Pursuit of Problem Free,  and Innovation Step One: Acknowledge What’s Not Working.

Third, once you really know the people you’re trying to connect and you’ve seen your existing programs and strategies and curriculum for what they really are…you will be faced with a great challenge.  Press ahead on the current trajectory, all the while knowing that the well-worn path never arrives at a new destination.  Or move onto a new trajectory, filled with uncertainty and the hope of hearing “well done.”

I hope you’ll take the road less travelled.  I hope you’ll choose the unfamiliar path…the one that leads to becoming the kind of church that connects far, far beyond the usual suspects.  In fact, I hope you take the path that actually transforms communities as a result of widespread life-change.

What do you think?  Have a question? Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. In addition, I am the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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