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Having worked with dozens of pastors, there is always one question we have to ask:
“Who are you targeting as a church?” (note to self, they hate this question!)
“Who do you want to reach first as a church?”
Without fail, every single pastor says, “EV-ER-Y-O-NE” (pronounced with eyes wide open and some hand gestures).
Things get really interesting when I follow up with this question:
“So, when is your Spanish service?”
I’ve experienced many awkward silent moments as a response.
The observation that frequently follows is this:
“If you don’t have one you aren’t currently attracting the latino community in your neighborhood.”
Pastors tend to feel some anxiety when they sense the idea that they may be excluding people one way or another.
There is truth in the fact that the body operates with different parts (Romans 12:4–5). And we all know the eye can’t say to the foot that the foot is not needed.
There is also truth in the fact that pastors are called. Not just to shepherd but to shepherd at a specific neighborhood at a specific time and for a specific period.
Putting these pieces together can and will eliminate the fear pastors may have of excluding people.
Can all churches have a children’s ministry, a women’s ministry, a men’s ministry, a youth ministry, a Spanish service, a service for the hearing impaired, weekly events, worship night and prayer walks, middle school events, and God knows what else the other mega churches are doing?
Should all churches have all these programs? Maybe not.
But one thing is sure. A pastor is called to a specific location for a period of time. And even if this period of time is a lifetime there is no way to speak to everyone at the same time effectively.
I’ve learned to rephrase this question to something like:
“As a church, who are you currently best equipped to serve?”
I have found that pastors react to this question in a way that opens the dialogue to the idea of actually identifying a target audience.
I know “target audience” and “church” are terms not many people like to see in the same sentence but when you look at it from the perspective of what you are capable of doing with your current resources, it becomes easier to digest the idea of creating a persona and having some avatars.
So, what would your pastor say if you ask him this question: “Who are we currently best equipped to serve?”
Let me know in the comments.