"1. WHO SHOULD WE BE REACHING? You need a clear picture in your mind of who in your community God has called you to reach. You may find it helpful to liken this process to becoming an overseas missionary. Who is in your mission field? If we entered a foreign land, we would want to determine who is in the region, their needs and then design a ministry strategy to reach those people with the Gospel. With this in mind, I'd encourage you to engage a conversation with your leadership team to identify who your church should be focused on reaching. To navigate this conversation, you can ask these key questions:
Who is in our community? Use available demographic information to identify who lives in your region and what trends are shaping your community.
Of those people, who are we trying to reach? How old are they? What's their spiritual background? What's their current life stage? You can also gain focus by identifying their primary occupation, ethnicity or education level.
What's important to them? Put yourselves in their shoes. What are the key questions they're asking? What are their primary needs? What do they value?
How does our strategy approach address what's most important to them? Does what your church offers help address these priorities?
This is the same exercise any missionary of Jesus would engage. I'm challenging you to become that missionary in your community. At The Unstuck Group, we've learned that the more clarity churches have about who they are trying to reach, and the more intentionality in ministry strategy churches have to reach them, the more likely the church is to reach a broad cross-section of their community. The reverse is not true. When there's no intentionality or, in some cases, total disregard for who the church should be reaching, the church struggles to reach its community and very few people are saved." -- Tony Morgan
Use demographic information to determine who you want to target? What do they value? The answer is sin. Their primary need is the Gospel. Are you serious here? You must understand that Morgan is not speaking about eternal needs but rather what carnal needs can the church meet. I read an article by Rick Warren once to pastors advising them tips to ensure their Easter visitors returned the following week. Here is a frightening glimpse into the depraved purpose driven mind:
"Let them know about your next sermon series. Always either begin a sermon series on Easter or the next week -- and make sure it's a series that meets the felt needs of an unchurched person. Yes, they need the Gospel and a relationship with Christ. You and I both know that's their foundational need, but most people will come to your church because they have a need for friendship, want a better marriage, want to be a better parent, want to feel they're living a life of significance or there may be some other need. When you do a series like that, let Easter visitors know in your letter. It'll give them a reason to come back to your church." -- Rick Warren 2014