The Lord has a plan to help you seek and save the lost in your local community. Our challenge to you through the Advancement Evangelism Initiative is to be intentional about discovering the Lord's strategy for your unique church and community. Our goal is to help you with resources to accomplish His mission.
Jesus gathered a few to impact the many. His plan was to change the world, and His chosen method was to pull together a team of people, people like you.
Team = think-pray-act tank
General steps in Team Development:
- Pastor prayerfully, individually recruits team members to serve for a defined season - An ideal team would be multi-generational (4-5 generations), cover a faith-walk spectrum (people both new to the Lord and long-term), and have diversified connections to the community.
- Regular meeting schedule
- Meetings include: Prayer, Process (below), Discussion, and Team Development
- Team Development options: reworking their personal testimony & practice, book/study discussions, topical discussion
- See Team Toolbox
- Let us know your team is working through the Advancement Evangelism Initiative Process so that we can keep you in our prayers and updated with resources.
This team is not a "decision making" body. The pastor and, if applicable, church board will take the team's recommendations and prayerfully make the final decisions.
Analyze Your Community
- Define target area (i.e. school district, city, zip codes, mile radius)
- Gather demographics from defined area (median age, families/singles, races, socioeconomics, median income, primary jobs) See Church Toolbox
- List current community Christian Outreaches/Resources for this area (i.e. food banks, programs)
- Who are the stakeholders for this community?
Analyze Your Church
- Demographics of the church regulars - How do these compare to the demographics of the community?
- How many people who attend your church actually live/work in the target community?
- Primary jobs and connections to the community
- Who has the Lord been bringing recently? If this is the type person God is bringing, how could you cooperate with His activity?
- What is this church's reputation in the community (good, bad, or none)?
- What is your church excelling at, that your community is missing out on?
- Who in the community is most like us and could we best connect with? (i.e. blue collar, white collar, similar jobs, etc.) The gospel often flows rapidly along cultural lines (1 Cor. 9:20-22).
Assess Your Church's Current "Guest Friendliness"
- We highly recommend a "secret shopper" and/or outside voice to help with a real assessment of guest friendliness and readiness. Let us know if we can help with this. Most regular attenders become blind to items they see frequently (i.e. peeling paint, ancient signs) and information they already know (i.e. bathroom locations, pastor's name/identity).
- What are the first 60 seconds like for a guest in both phases: entering the parking lot and entering the door?
- Greeters and welcome - How well are they being greeted and seated? How is their guest information being collected (involve multiple sources)? How clear are the instructions for submitting a guest card? What is the guest gift and follow-up like here? Would a guest feel singled-out? Would a guest actually want the gift we give?
- Service/worship expectations - How will the guest know what they are "supposed" to do if they have never been to church before?
- Facilities - Curb appeal, signage, interior appeal (generational appeal, gender appeal, family appeal, kids appeal) Does it look like we love kids around here? Will kids think our children's facilities are appealing? (General rule - Ask if a 5th grade boy would like the room. If he does, most likely, all others will too.)
- Security/Peace Profile - Will a new parent approve of the children's check-in process? Are all the workers background checked and following safety protocols?
Research the Best Tools to Fit Your Unique Community
- From the previous discussion items, is there a particular group of people in the community that have come up repeatedly? What might be the best way to connect with them or serve them?
- See Church Toolbox list for a collection of ideas.
- What outreach/connection tool does our community most need?
- What outreach/connection tool sparks the most interest in the team members?
- If you could only add or improve one outreach in the next season, what would you choose? This might be a good place for team members to share their individual response with a partner, for paired discussions, and then room discussions.
Some churches have found that having an outside consultant/team/coach has been vital to their assessment/planning process. Let us know if we can help facilitate discussions or even bring in a team to conduct a full consultation weekend.
Individual Team Members' Outreach Plan
- Take time for team members to create and record their personal outreach/evangelism/connection goals for the next 6 months. Goals lists should include tangible goals, but "faith" goals can also be added. Tangible goals are ones that a person has control over carrying out, SMART goals (i.e. Twice a month I will volunteer at the Seniors Center.). Faith goals depend entirely on the Lord and others (i.e. I want to lead 1 person to accept Jesus).
- Team members share with each other their individual plan and clarify which elements are tangible vs. faith goals.
Church Outreach Plan
- Facilities improvements
- Program improvements/outreach addition
- Guest logistics
- Outreach Sundays/Big Day cycles - See Church Toolbox
- Initiatives - What is the activity of God? How do we partner with His activity? What has God revealed to this team?
- Details - Who will do what? When? & Where?
Calendar Church Plan
Create Two Budgets
- Utilize a large 12-month dry erase calendar (Purchase from office supply store.)
- Calendar Community Events - school holidays & events (graduation, homecoming parade), community festivals, time change (Spring & Fall), national holidays & events that impact your community (elections, Super Bowl, opening day of hunting season, etc.), National Day of Prayer
- Calendar Outreach Sundays/Big Days - Easter, Christmas season, Friend Day, 6-4-2 outreach strategy (See Church Toolbox), etc.
- Baptism schedule, communion schedule
- Church work days
- Church events (camps, retreats, pastor's vacation, etc.)
- Evaluation meeting dates of plan Follow-Through
- Minimal budget to carry out the essential, critical elements
- Ideal budget to represent the "Best Case Scenario" and visionary items
- Plan funding mechanisms - i.e. Advancement Grant application, vision campaign, bake sale for Kids' Church makeover
The most difficult part of any plan, is carrying it out. This is the true difference maker. Faith without works is dead.
- Team members create their own accountability plan - What do I need to do to ensure that I carry out my goals? Who do I need to be accountable to? What does that look like? How often?
Church Family Connection
- Ask: What is it, in the next year, that the Lord is going to hold us accountable for, if we don't do it?
- Is our plan realistic?
- What might get in the way of this plan? What steps could we take to address those obstacles?
- Who do we need to recruit? Who will hold that conversation? When?
- Evaluation meetings after major plan elements - What worked well? What did we learn? What needs strengthening?
- How do we celebrate what the Lord has done?
- Share with us what God has done through your team.
- New Believers plan - materials, Bibles, discipleship
- Connection Plan - How do we connect the new people God brings to the church family? Where are the key/first connection points? How do we get them involved?
- New Members plan
Advancement is called to help leaders and teams advance. You do not have to walk through this season alone. Let us know if a coach or a consultant can join you on this leg of your journey.
If your church has an average attendance under 150 and could use a financial grant to help with your 2022 evangelism plan, then please submit your application for the ADVANCEMENT GRANT by December 15, 2021.