Gathering the first 50
Once you have moved, gathered your core team, talked to other local church leaders, you need to gather your first 50. Fifty is a viable number for a public Sunday morning launch. It’s enough people to make things work and for it not to rattle! So where do you get they come from?
People join a plant for a number of reasons
- Pioneers – they have moved to the area because of the church plant
- Moving Area – Christians moving into town for a job move etc. Often they will join a plant because it is the most friendly and welcoming church and hungry for the extra bodies.
- Lost to the Church – these are Christians who have given up on the Church for various reasons. Some will be a pain because they have unresolved issues and have left every other church in the area. They are more like wolves in sheep’s clothing. However, I have found that a lot of “lost to the church” people have been genuinely hurt and heal up in a grace filled New Testament church. Church plants also attract all the Christian nutters and people who would love to be a big fish in a small pond for all the wrong reasons – so you do need plenty of discernement, wisdom and grace. We have been genuinely blessed by many “lost to the church” folk who have healed up and got back in the battle.
- Non-Christians – as you meet people, you find those “men of peace” who are open to the Gospel.
- Moving Church – lastly you will gather those who have been surviving in a dead church or who aren’t enjoying where they are at and are waiting for you to come. It’s not the kind of growth we are looking for and you need to make sure people leave their old church well before you let them join you. I have sent people back to their pastor to leave well.
We have tracked how people have come to us – because I want to make sure we are growing through salvation and bringing the prodigals home.
How do we gather those first 50 then?
In those early days you have a window of opportunity being the new thing in town. For 18months you will gather those who are lost to the Church and those moving church, but that will tail off. The key is to lay foundations for evangelistic growth at the same time as benefitting from the freebie growth which tails off.
- Encourage your core team to be building friendships with non-Christians.
- Brainstorm ways of getting the message out cheaply and effectively. That helps get ownership for the task from the core team.
- Leaflets – I have real faith for leafletting. It’s a numbers game though – 1 visitor for every 1000 leaflets!
- Town centre give-aways – printed balloons, hot cross buns… which give you a quick window of opportunity to invite people to what you are doing. Just handing out leaflets will mean you will be litter picking later. A 30 sec chat while giving away a freebie will get a leaflet in the pocket and not the street!
- Treasure Hunts –
- Meet people for Costa regularly and get used to sharing the story and vision for the plant in a 30 sec, 3 min and 30 min chunks.
- Get a banner put up in town – one those wires the council use for Christmas lights – you’ll need permission from the shop, the landlords and the council and then insurance too. Quite a
- Posters in every doctors surgery and anywhere else there is a notice board like supermarket, community centres etc.
- Use the web – website, Google adwords, facebook and so on – but there is no substitute for getting out there and meeting people face to face.