5 Personal Outreach Practices for Any Planter

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Church planters need to meet new people and share their vision. Every day. New people. Fresh stories. But like anyone else, church planters can get into ruts. Here are five ideas from church planters to help you break out of a personal outreach rut, meet with new people, and hear fresh stories.

1. Connect with the local elementary or secondary school.

Elementary schools often have programs looking for chaperones, mentors, or other volunteers. Introduce yourself to the principal or a key teacher and see what opportunities might arise.

From the church planter collective:

“I was personally involved at the elementary school near our plant as a mentor and tried to meet regularly with the guidance counselor to keep up with needs that different families in the area might have. It was a great relationship and we saw a lot of fruit from that work.”

2. Maintain a personal presence online.

Of course, a personal presence does not simply need to be a physical presence. More and more people are accessing spiritual teaching and crafting friendships online. An online presence is not a substitute for relationships with face to face conversation, but it can be a precursor and augmentation to personal relationships. Share appropriately but personally, mixing in teaching and devotional reflections. Use an essay or thought to initiate a lunch with an interested person or to solicit feedback.

From the church planter collective:

“I keep a regular blog going. In our early years, I kept a devotional spot going on the local radio station. I am always looking for a way to speak into the larger community, so that whether folks come to our church or not, they still get a taste of our teaching.”

3. Take church guests and recent attenders out for lunch.

Not all families are suited or gifted for having people into their home at any given moment, but there are still ways to share meals. Try taking a different guest or recent attender out to lunch after church. While this will need to be a budget item in the church plant (or planter’s family), it can also be a tradition of ministry and fun for the planter’s family. Try this for six months and see if the cost is creating good value with follow up guests and enriching your personal ministry.

4. Join local professional and benevolent networks

Church planters aren’t the only people looking to make contacts and friendships outside their familial and work contexts. And some networks are gathered around doing some good, too!

From the church planter collective:

“I joined a local toastmasters club both to build specific relationships and to try and get inside the heads of unchurched folks in my community.”

“Best practice of outreach for me has been being involved in local Chamber of Commerce. The business community was a great starting place in my context.”

“Becoming a Rotarian deepened my credibility in my community.”

5. Introduce yourself to persons of peace

A person of peace is a person with a similar mission and set of values as you, but who may not share your faith. While not be a Christian—perhaps even a person of a different faith—a person of peace is someone with whom you can find common ground in an area of doing good. Sometimes persons of peace have official responsibilities of peace—the chief of police, the fire chief, the mayor or another representative; sometimes they are people with influence—business owners, journalists, radio hosts; sometimes they are people with potential influence—entrepreneurs, activists, neighbors. Many times people with official responsibilities can become isolated. Introduce yourself to these persons and see what opportunities for ministry and mission might arise. Further, meeting with influential and successful people who are invested in your city is a great source of accountability to be ready for questions and to share your vision and why it matters in your local area.

From the church planter collective:

“I spend loads of time connecting with local business and civic leaders. These connections are valuable and these leaders really appreciate that we have ‘a convincing business model’ even if they aren’t ‘buying our product.’ There really are loads of people of peace!”

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