When a team comes back from the initial workshop and begins to implement the practices they learned, they often ask the question “How can we win over our entire congregation to the Reaching New People process?”
It is a good but dangerous question.
A better question to ask is “Who can we win over next as we develop Reaching New People in the life of our church?”
A corollary is “What group should we approach next to help them begin reintroducing our church to the community?”
The Reaching New People practices taught at the workshop are of critical importance for a church to bear fruit in its main mission of Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Teams write the letter describing the RNP process and distribute it to key leaders of the church. They ask for a blessing to try it out themselves, support from SPRC for the outreach practices of the pastor and an early commitment to the funding. But when a team moves too quickly to try to get everyone in the church to understand and embrace Reaching New People, frustration and paralysis often ensue.
- Scheduling their own team meetings outside the castle.
- Inviting groups, teams and committees of which they are members to meet outside the castle.
- Taking prayer walks in the mission field as a team, in pairs or as individual team members.
- Praying as individuals and as a team for individuals in the mission field that the Holy Spirit has drawn them toward.
- Organizing a handful of small Member-Guest activities.
- Collecting and sharing the stories of encounters they experience and what they overhear from the other teams in their cluster.
- Starting with the church members who were willing to share a member-guest activity.
- Inviting them to notice and pray for the people in the mission field they see every day but don’t really know. They partner in those prayers with the new RNP participants.
- Encouraging the new partners and help them design their own member-guest activity and participate with them in that activity.
When the RNP team has demonstrated the practices alongside a number of the typical worship attenders on Sunday morning, they are working to reach a tipping point. Then they begin to invite other groups of people to take up the practices as the team has demonstrated.
- The other groups that have successfully met outside the castle become the first candidates to add RNP practices to their agenda as a group.
- Youth groups, UMM, UMW, even administrative committees like Finance and SPRC can conduct prayer walks as groups.
- They can also plan member guest activities as individuals, with RNP team members guiding and encouraging them along the way.