After nearly a year of having to be in reactive leadership mode in 2020, I want to address again the importance of getting specific about who you are trying to reach for Jesus, or to put it another way, being clear about which specific unreached people group in your local area your church is called to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28:19).

Even though most congregations have some sort of vision statement that includes the concept of going out to reach the lost like, “Know, Grow, Go,” or “To Know Christ and Make Him Known,” many of these same churches aren’t effective in evangelism. Every Anglican church we assessed with our Revive Church Health Assessment has had one of the lowest or the lowest score in the area of church health called “Missional Impulse.” Many churches know they are supposed to reach the unchurched around them for Jesus, have expressed a desire to do so in their vision statement, yet do not do it consistently and effectively. Why? What is the problem?

The answer is likely multi-faceted which is one of the areas we address in our church revitalization consultation services, but often, one major problem is that the congregation’s vision is too broad. To just say that our plan is to “Go” or “Make Him Known” is too broad. “Go” or “make Him known” to whom? And just to say we want to reach “the lost” in our city or town is still too broad. Which lost people specifically? What are they like? What are their spiritual beliefs? What pain do they feel, and how are they trying to self-medicate it with something other than Jesus’ healing? Some churches get a little more specific and say that their plan is to reach “young families” in their area. That’s better, but it is still too broad. What would be better and necessary is to define which specific young families God is calling you to focus on. For example, within driving distance of my church, there are both wealthy young families with outwardly stable lives and financially struggling young families whose lives are visibly broken. Both need Jesus, but how you go about reaching them to share the Gospel can involve drastically different strategies and programming.

Has your church taken the time and effort to prayerfully gain clarity on who, specifically, God is calling you to reach? If not, your efforts and energy may be spread too broadly, therefore, you’re not able to effectively connect to the lost in your area. When wanting to “be the light of Christ” to those in darkness, it is better to be more like a laser beam than a light bulb!

If your church would like to take proactive steps in this area this year, one of the first and best things is to do some demographic and psychographic research on the people in your area. To learn more about the importance of both demographic and psychographic research and their differences, please read this article by our Anglican Revitalization Ministries team member, Sean Jecko, here:

I also want to point you to two additional tools we recommend for this important aspect of fulfilling God’s Great Commission through your local church. Both tools will help with your demographic research, and while they will also help with psychographic research, nothing is better than actually going out and talking to the people you want to reach! 

The first tool, Know Your Community by a ministry called Church Answers, features Thom Rainer who has been a leader in church revitalization for many years. I appreciate that this ministry really cares about the psychographic part and emphasizes its importance. I also like that it is a flat, one-time cost of only $175.00. You can check it out here:

The second tool is a ministry called MissionInsite. They have been helping churches in this area of research for a long time. I recently learned that they have somehow partnered with ACS, a major church administration and accounting service. I can imagine how this partnership could be helpful to your church, especially if you already use ACS. You can find more information and costs here: https://missioninsite.com

You can lead your church to more effectively connect with the lost, see them saved, and have your church thrive by knowing specifically who you are trying to reach for Jesus. Taking the time and effort to do this research and prayerfully decide who God wants you to focus on will go a long way to reaching these goals!

Once you’ve received your data and would like an Anglican’s help analyzing it to determine who to focus on reaching, please email me at meldredge@americananglican.org to schedule a free, one-time consultation. You can also email me to schedule a phone call so we can talk about any questions you have about this topic.

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