Target group

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by pastorjeff, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. pastorjeff

    pastorjeff
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    How much emphasis does your church place on target groups? How did you determine the group to target? How did you appeal to this group if you do target?
     
  2. Broadus

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    Are you talking about a purpose-driven, Saddleback sort of demographic target group?

    If so, we don't. We believe that the church is to be comprised of all demographic groups. While this is often more the ideal than the reality, we still seek to reach out to all groups.

    Bill
     
  3. LarryN

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    Speaking of Purpose Driven, here's a quote from Rick Warren:

    And you know, he's right. Every church targets or has targeted a certain type or group(s) of people, whether they recognize it or not; based along the lines of: worship style(s), musical preferences, types of ministries/activities offered, even language. There are a wide variety of factors, if we stop to think about them.

    Language, you ask? If your services are conducted in English, you're targeting English-speakers. If you wish to reach Hispanics in your area, you might conduct Spanish-language services; with a corresponding musical style.

    Make no mistake: every church has a specific target group (or groups) to whom it predominately appeals.
     
  4. Broadus

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    If you define it in such terms, that assertion is correct. However, that does not justify, IMO, the targeting of specific groups, e.g. "Saddleback Sams and Samanthas." It just doesn't seem to square with the NT.

    How about, we target all who live in our geographical area who are able to understand English, only because we're not equipped for any other language.

    That seems to me to be different than targeting a certain socio-economic class, a strategy which I find without scriptural support.

    Bill
     
  5. LarryN

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    In theory, or in an ideal world, I'd like to believe that every church is or would be designed to meet the needs of every person. In practice though, I haven't seen that.

    Individual churches do "market" themselves to different groups. These distinctions are not always intentional or overt. They can be along the lines of age, socio-economics, race (sadly), certain standards, etc.

    I can think of a local IFB church that prominently states in its print advertising "New families welcome!". Now, if I'm an empty-nester, widower, or a young single- perhaps they've already unwittingly created a barrier to me feeling accepted or welcomed there. Another local IFB church promotes itself as "KJV Only, Traditional Music". They're definitely looking for a specific kind of Christian as a potential member; and in regards to unbelievers they've perhaps even deterred some from even visiting, if these create barriers in their minds. If they are speaking to those who are already Christians, they might as well say "NIV users & Praise & Worship fans unwelcome". In essence, they are saying exactly that.

    I challenge anyone reading this to open your local Yellow Pages and see how the various churches in your area promote or differentiate themselves. These factors may be overt or subtle. They each have a specific target group in mind, whether even they themselves have consciously ever thought of the matter in those terms.

    It's not so much a matter of being 100% willing to reach out to whomever visits or crosses paths with our churches- it goes beyond that. Sometimes it's more so a matter of not impeding, or even discouraging, those visits in the 1st place.
     
  6. SaggyWoman

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    Our church doesn't cater to a certain segment only. We cater to several certain segments.

    Addictions--recovery
    Children
    Youth
    Senior Adults
    Adults.

    From all walks.
     
  7. Johnv

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    We have a singles group, a divorced recovery support group, parents and friends of suicide group, and several others. If there's a need, the church tries to fill it.
     
  8. pastorjeff

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    I am probebly the biggest advocate of diversity there is. I started this topic because of planning for series, making impacts in the community, and using our resources to the best of our ability. I have to agree with LarryN on this one. although I would like to provide for all around the area, we are not equipped to do so. Also, to provide for all needs would require too many styles for worship and too many ministries that only one person would be in in our community.

    So my question is for anyone with an idea of how to make the best of limited resourses and time, but make the best impact for Christ. The preaching will always be from the Word, but there are more issues than just going with it. I will never turn a believer away, but already we have those who don't fit with the core values and priorities of the church because they are at a different place in life than the majority.
     
  9. LarryN

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    Starting a new work, you do have to make strategic decisions regarding how to best maximize your available resources.

    Since 1971 my church has begun 5 other English-speaking churchs & 1 Spanish-speaking church. They all have some unique characteristics- relative to locations, surrounding demographics, etc. In fact, being involved in launching a new, start-up ministry is IMHO the best possible way to revitalize potentially stagnant areas of your existing ministry- because it really forces your church to truly think about what is important & vital & useful in ministering to wide varieties/groups of people.

    The worst possible thing to to obliviously believe that you can simply be "all things, to all people"; especially in the beginning. The likely result of that mindset is that you will instead be "few things, to few people".
     
  10. LarryN

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    Speaking of "target groups", the verse Galatians 2:7 came to my mind last night. Study what this verse says:

    KJV: "But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised."

    NKJV: "But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter."

    NLT: "They saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the Good News to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews."

    NIV: "On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews."

    This verse indicates that even Peter and Paul engaged in focused evangelism. Neither's mission was simply to "reach anyone & everyone" with the Gospel- each went after a specific "target group".

    I think the lesson is that God has specially gifted each of us in some distinct ways. You may be especially effective at reaching certain types & groups of people that I may not be especially effective in reaching; and vice-versa. By leveraging our individual strengths, I really believe that "the sum is greater than the whole".
     
  11. pastorjeff

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    So Larry, how does your church use resources to the greatest advantage, both in meeting the needs of the saved, and reaching the lost?
     
  12. Broadus

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    Larry,

    I think you're misapplying the above verse, regardless of translation. To be sent as a missionary to the Gentiles or to the Jews is hardly the same as a church targeting urban professionals or country music lovers or college educated or whatever. I suspect one would be hard put to find evidence indicating that Paul targeted certain subgroups in order to establish churches for each subgroup.

    Perhaps certain believers within the church are more effective communicating with certain groups outside the church. All of the newly believing persons from within the various groups are then brought together to comprise what appears to be a heterogeneous mixture but is made homogeneous under the cross as a local body of Christ.

    Bill
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Public links to other forums are prohibited here. Posters can PM you if they want a link.

    Roger
    C4K
    Moderator
     
  14. Jayohio1

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    cool, I wont mention it. email me somebody if your interested, until then , I'll go it solo.
     
  15. LarryN

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    Larry,

    I think you're misapplying the above verse, regardless of translation. To be sent as a missionary to the Gentiles or to the Jews is hardly the same as a church targeting urban professionals or country music lovers or college educated or whatever. I suspect one would be hard put to find evidence indicating that Paul targeted certain subgroups in order to establish churches for each subgroup.

    Perhaps certain believers within the church are more effective communicating with certain groups outside the church. All of the newly believing persons from within the various groups are then brought together to comprise what appears to be a heterogeneous mixture but is made homogeneous under the cross as a local body of Christ.

    Bill
    </font>[/QUOTE]Bill, Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    I do think that there's a lot to be said for playing to one's strengths in evangelism. That is not to say that we should ignore, or worse yet purposely avoid, any opportunities that the Holy Spirit presents us with.

    I have read some of Warren's stuff, and I must say that some things seem right on target (pun intended). He gives the analogy in Purpose Driven Church of a radio station that constantly alternates between many types of music (e.g. a Gospel song, followed by a classical concerto, next a bluegrass tune, next a hymn, next some electric-guitar rock, next...). His point is, that by trying to be all things to all people, it will actually wind up having virtually nobody listening- because it won't suit anyone's tastes. Instead, radio stations all target certain audiences, and each successfully then meets the needs of their particular "target group".

    Undeniably, some pastors & evangelists (and by logical extension, all saved believers in general) are best suited to reaching certain types of people. If you examine the congregation of most churches, the majority of the people present will in most cases tend to be by-and-large fairly homogeneous.

    The pastor of my former church (a church I was a member of for over 20 years) related especially well to "blue-collar" people. Since these then constituted the majority of the churches' people, the church as a whole seemed geared toward reaching & appealing to people in this socio-economic group. This I believe was a by-product both of his background & also the particular way that God has gifted him.

    My present pastor, OTOH, appears to have the background & gifting to reach "white-collars". Hence we seem to have a larger than representative sampling of Attorneys, Executives, Physicians, Judges, and the like.

    I would venture that there is nothing inherently wrong with either church; but that in fact the two churches serve to compliment each other admirably in many respects.

    Speaking of Peter and Paul- it occurs to me that Peter may be a proper analogy for my former pastor, and Paul for my present pastor. Very different backgrounds, but obviously complementary in giftings.

    Finally, some more verses come to mind that seem to be supportive of targeted evangelism in context. In Jesus' own words:

    Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    Matthew 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    Jesus had a focus: reach the lost sheep of Israel, equip His disciples, and then leave them (and us) with His commission to reach the lost world.
     
  16. Broadus

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    Larry,

    Thanks for your reply. Again, and I don't want to appear belligerent, but I think the above verses from Matthew are not speaking about targeting people groups but are speaking rather to the fact that the gospel was designed to go first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.

    A friendly, thoughtful, yet lengthy evaluation of The Purpose Driven Church can be found at http://www.9marks.org/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID314526|CHID598014|CIID1918134,00.html .

    Blessings,
    Bill
     

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