Reply to 3 of your peers. ** at least 200 words per

Reply to 3 of your peers. ** at least 200 words per student, please do it sepeartly, please be stay positive when replying to the students.

Evaluate your classmates’ threads with thoughtful analysis.

Student 1

In fulfilling this prompt, it would be helpful to individually break down each question and see where I stand in terms of whether I agree or not. For context, I am a student minister.

 

#1-What does the Bible teach about reaching your community?

This one, I totally agree with. Obviously God’s Word should be our governing guide when it comes to anything. He is wise and will give us direction. In terms of what the Bible says about reaching our community, there are a number of ways. In Acts 18, Paul went directly to the synagogue, so he surrounded himself with people that were not necessarily likeminded. Also in Acts 18, we see that Paul was a tentmaker. While this was primarily a way for him to make money, it also would have been an evangelistic opportunity for him, since he would have been in the public marketplace.

 

In a sense, Jesus often spoke of meeting people’s needs. Take for example in John 4, where He speaks to the woman at the well and tells her in verse 14, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst again.” Having thirst means having a need, and while many would disagree with some of Karl Barth’s theology, he made a good point in stating that humans are incredibly needy.[1] Seeing that people have a need for Jesus—His salvation from hell, His deliverance from one’s sinful desires, and His satisfaction of the human soul—is found in Scripture.

 

#2-Who is your community?

This one seems a bit redundant, and I would argue that it is not incredibly important, but it can provide some value. To a point, it helps to know what people in one’s community are like and what they believe. The biggest instance of this to me is found in Acts 17, where Paul gives the sermon on Mars Hill, and quotes from one of the local poets of the day; this served as a way for him to give them a relatable baseline. Jesus often used farming analogies to communicate spiritual truths, because He knew His community. In my own context, I know the students and citizens of my area love sports, so I use a number of sports analogies whenever I teach. On the other side of this-the side that I do not find that important-is that the church is called to reach the whole world with Gospel. Mark 16:15 says that believers are to “Go into all the world” preaching His Gospel. There is no distinction among people here, and all people matter to God. In conjunction with this truth, 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world. I don’t think strategy is a dumb thing, but I certainly do not believe it is the ultimate thing. Romans 1:16 says the Gospel is “the power of God for salvation”. The message is the be-all-end-all.

 

#3-What kind of church will reach your community?

This answer, and the answer for the next question, are in conjunction with number 2. It all ties back to the Gospel and what the church believes about it. Does the church believe Romans 1:16? Do they believe, that dead sinners are made alive in Christ because of the Gospel (Ephesians 2)? A church that reaches the lost in the community will be one that, instead of “harshly judging others” outside of the church (1 Corinthians 5:12), sees them in their sin, sees their need, and meets them.[2] Of course, there are churches that will reach the community because they will itch people’s ears by giving them a message that sounds appealing (2 Timothy 4:3), but God is not mocked and they will be held accountable for that at the end of days. A church that reaches the community is one that takes the Great Commission seriously.

 

#4-How will your church reach your community?

This one actually can prove handy since it serves as almost an accountability question for how a church is going to fulfill the Great Commission. I agree with Malphurs that the leadership has to not only buy in, but they have to live out the vision to reach the community: “If the church wants to have a powerful impact for Christ in its geographical community, the pastor will need to set the example.”[3] In my particular context, it would mean that I am setting the example for our students by sharing the Gospel and having evangelistic conversations. However, I am all in all a proponent of having the people of the church actually get out and share the Gospel. Sure there is nothing wrong with having evangelistic events (we have lock-ins and play lazer tag), but nothing substitutes the Gospel.

 

 

 

References

 

Dorman, David A. “A Theology of Neediness and Evangelism.” Journal of Christian Nursing

36, no. 3 (2019): 178-179.

 

Lie, Sunny. “How Best to Evangelize to Nonbelievers: Cultural Persuasion in American and

Chinese Indonesian Evangelical Christian Discourse on Relational Evangelism.” Journal

of International and Intercultural Communication 11, no. 1 (2017): 42-57.

 

Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st Century Model for Church and Ministry

Leaders. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2013.

 

[1] David A. Dorman, “A Theology of Neediness and Evangelism,” Journal of Christian Nursing 36, no. 3 (2019): 178.

[2] Sunny Lie, “How Best to Evangelize to Nonbelievers: Cultural Persuasion in American and Chinese Indonesian Evangelical Christian Discourse on Relational Evangelism,” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 11, no. 1 (2017): 49.

[3] Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2013), 189.

Student 2

Aubrey Malphurs, in his book advanced strategic planning, a 21st-century model for Christian and ministry leaders, suggests that leaders should ask four strategic questions when designing a strategy to reach their community. The questions he suggests are: What does the Bible teach about reaching your community? Who is your community? What kind of church will reach your community? How will your church reach your community? I agree that these questions help lay a clear foundation as a person looks to spread the gospel in their community. By looking at the questions individually, I believe further clarity will be seen as to the way these are great foundational questions. 

 

What does the Bible teach about reaching your community?

We see a clear and direct call to reach other with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:16-20, “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” It is our job as believers to share the truth of who Jesus is with every person we encounter. It is our job to go to the ends of the earth with the hope of salvation. 

“Matt 28:16-20.” Essay. In The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 2010. 

 

Jesus, when asked what the great commandment is in Matthew 22:36-40 says, “36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” The most loving thing that we can do for our neighbors is to tell them the truth about eternity. In the same way that if we saw a person was going to be struck by a vehicle, we would do everything in our power to make sure that this person was safe. We should have the same energy and dedication to the message of Christ.

“Matt 22:36-40.” Essay. In The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 2010. 

 

Who is your community?

Positive prayer involves asking God to use the church to reach the lost, to grow believers up in the faith, and to uphold his reputation in our communities, all of which will glorify God. Understanding the ins and outs of our community is essential to being able to reach them. What are the community’s greatest needs? What are the communities’ greatest assets? What is the Socioeconomic status of my community? What is the racial demographic? What are other churches active in my area? What denominational systems are in place and excepted as normative in my community? In asking these questions, we can get a clearer picture of who it is that we are trying to engage and what barriers might stand in our way in establishing ourselves as a trusted church. When discovering who our communities are, prayer should play a pivotal role. Malphurs says, “Positive prayer involves asking God to use the church to reach the lost, to grow believers up in the faith, and to uphold his reputation in our communities, all of which will glorify God.”

Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders Links to an external site., Third edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 82.

 

What kind of church will reach your community

When processing this question, we are clarifying what the major needs in the community are. Is this a community in that father figures are absent? Is this a highly affluent community? The approach to teaching the gospel will vary depending on the religious background of the community you are trying to engage. Where I am located in the Bible belt, it seems that everyone has a general understanding of who Jesus is and believes that if they go to church on Christmas and Easter that they will go to heaven. I have a good friend who is a church planter in Boston, where people’s understanding of God is almost absent or comes from a strong Catholic influence. The mindset of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 might be the best response to this question. He says, “To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law, I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so as to win those not having the law. To the weak, I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means, I might save some.” We need to work to be a seamless integration into our communities. 

 

“1 Cor 9:20-22.” Essay. In The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 2010. 

 

How will your church reach your community?

This final question is about implementation. We need a clear mission that will allow us to create the vision and then the values that come together to create clarity in the implementation structure. And what type of opportunities do we have to engage with our community? Malphurs offers these suggestions, “Following are some ministries that make a difference in communities: adopt a school, a fire or police station, or a military family or another family in need; do an on-campus sports ministry, a health fair, or on- and off-campus ESL classes; host a neighborhood crime watch; and many others.” Ultimately, we will reach our community when our focus is on sharing the gospel and finding opportunities to engage with our community and meet the needs of the people in it.

 

Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders Links to an external site., Third edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 192.

 

Student 3

Aubrey Malphurs does a good job at setting up a step-by-step structure and layout of how a church can start from ground zero with a strategic plan.  Whether setting up the structure of the church or trying to identify the right personnel needed for the church, the book is a great place to start.  I do agree with Malphurs on the identified four questions, understanding they are not the only way to reach the community but a solid option.

I think the first question, what does the Bible teach about reaching your community? This is easily answered in scripture.  Just as several of the scriptures pointed out in this chapter points to, Christ commands us to go and tell. Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, and Act 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Each time we see the example is that God gives us the power to share the Good News to our communities.

The next question is who is your community?  This answer is more concrete and statistically proven. In seminary when working with church plants (and even missions), it was common to look at the demographics of an area to get an idea of where to start.  Malphurs explains, “the answer involves a demographic study of the community. Not only do you need to know who lives in your community, but you will also need to understand who they are, which involves a psychographic study. To identify your immediate community, you must consult demographic studies of your community. Demographics provide external information about the following: median age, occupation, income, marital status, family size, housing, gender, race, and education. In addition, demographic studies should provide you with future projections as well as current information.[1]

What kind of church will reach your community? With this question I think our first job is to answer what kind of team is needed to lead the church.  In this week’s video from Dr. Steve Keith we learned four items in building a Ministry Team.  The first two are a requirement; 1) They must be called, and 2) they must be a person of character. The next two are more subjective; 3) They must be competent, and 4) they must have chemistry (within the team).  Again, these are four good steps but not necessarily the only steps in this process. Building this team is critical and needs be at the beginning stages of what kind of church the community needs.  The author goes on and adds that “you must ask yourself whether your congregation is willing to adapt to reach your community. For the saved people in your church, this is a temporal preference issue. For the lost in your community, however, it is an eternal damnation issue. It is imperative that your people understand that their answer to this question will have eternal implications! Paul’s answer to this most difficult question of adaption was yes, found in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23.”[2]  Many of those questions will fall into the realm of what kind of pastor, staff, or worship is most effective?  What will the congregation look like, where is the focus of ministry?[3]

The last question addressed is, how will your church reach your community? This question was addressed throughout the book.  I specifically agree with the statement, “Thus the ministry’s mission provides a compelling sense of direction, a target for everyone to aim at, a port to land at, and it serves to focus the congregations.”[4] There needs to be a clear and concise direction on how the church is going to accomplish its goal of reaching the community.  I would go even further to state that the mission/strategy, needs to be clear, known by the church, transparent to the community and as always, follow scripture.

I think that these are good starting points when dealing with new churches, church plants, mission relationships, etc.…and the book does lay the process out nicely.  One thing I would like to point out is that while this is done on the front end of establishing a church, this needs to be done continuously in the life of the church.  As communities change, leadership comes and goes, a good scrub of the church mission, core values and strategic plan to make sure it is still in alignment of where it needs to be.

 

           

 

[1] Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders Links to an external site., Third edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 181.

 

[2] Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders Links to an external site., Third edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 187.

 

[3] Ibid. 187

[4] Ibid. 106