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Bridging. How will you penetrate your community?. Bridging = Networking. Bridging is the corporate expression of networking. Servant Evangelism Externally Focused Community Development. Major Question.

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Bridging

How will you penetrate your community?


Bridging = Networking

  • Bridging is the corporate expression of networking.

    • Servant Evangelism

    • Externally Focused

    • Community Development


Major Question

  • If networking is so powerful (90% factor), why hasn’t the evangelism multiplication worked out?


Major Networking Problems


Natural Boundaries

  • As powerful as network evangelism is, every network has built in natural boundaries that work against the viral spread of the gospel.


Individual Isolation


Corporate Isolation

  • If your church disappeared would anyone in the community even notice?


Early Church


Commission: Crystal Clear

  • Jerusalem

  • Judea

  • Samaria

  • Ends of Earth

    • Acts 1:8


Acts 8:1 = Jerusalem Isolation

  • Seventeen years later

  • STILL IN FIRST CIRCLE!

  • Jerusalem church had become a closed network. Yes, thousands of converts, but very narrow in their missional focus.


Stark: Closed Networks

  • Most new religious movements fail because they quickly become closed or semi closed networks. That is, they fail to keep forming and sustaining attachments to outsiders and thereby lose the capacity to grow.


Natural Closure

  • Most people have 40-50 people in their network.

  • Pastors: 75-120

  • Introverts: 20-30

  • Exception: POP

    • Person of Peace

    • Know everybody


Natural & Rapid Closure

  • Small Groups

    • Six Months

  • Churches

    • 70 people

  • Core groups

    • 3-6 Months


What is the answer?


Exponential Growth

  • Successful movements discover techniques for remaining open networks. And herein lies the capacity of movements to sustain exponential rates of growth over a long period of time.


Brutally Honest

  • Every time a new network was opened in the NT, there was a major battle.

    • Acts 6: Hellenistic vs. Hebrew widows

    • Acts 8: Jerusalem vs. Samaria

    • Acts 8:26- Samaria vs. Africa (Ethiopian)

    • Acts 10-11: Jew (clean) vs. Gentile (unclean)

    • Acts 13: Antioch vs. Asia Minor

    • Acts 15: Circumcision vs. Uncircumcision

    • Acts 16: Asia Minor vs. Europe (Macedonian)


Push-Pull Tension

GOD’S SPIRIT

GOD’S PEOPLE


Your Battles

  • First battle: Yourself

    • To spend necessary networking time to find new prospects and breaking out of comfort zone.

  • Second battle: Your Core Group

    • One of your major battles will be to fight to keep your core group open and continually build new relationships with new people, outsiders, and new networks.


Early Church: Jumped Networks

  • How did the early church keep their network open and the church growing?

  • Simple answer: They were courageous to follow the Holy Spirit as he continued to expand the base.


Expanding Circles


Courageous Leadership

  • The battles were intense (Acts 15) and the Holy Spirit kept leading the early church to the next circle.


How do you jump networks


1. Prayerful Discernment

  • You have done the demographic surveys, now you need to walk the streets and let your heart be broken by the things that break God’s heart.


2. See Networks, Not Crowds


3. Look at people

Faceless needs don’t break your heart!


4. Meet Needs

  • Find a need and meet it.

  • Find a hurt and heal it.

    • Robert Schuller


5. Look For “Person of Peace”

  • Jesus

    • Luke 10:6

    • Person of Peace

  • Malcolm Gladwell

    • Tipping Point

    • Connectors


Person of Peace Article

  • Receptive

    • Positive towards you

  • Reputation

    • Everyone knows them

    • Good: Cornelius (Acts 10)

    • Bad: Woman at well (Jn. 4)

  • Referral

    • Have influence

    • Cornelius: Household

    • Women: Whole Village


Application

  • Who is your person of peace that can connect you into the community?

  • Traditional connectors

    • Police

    • School Principal

    • Political leader

    • Business leader

    • Pastors


6. Become Intentional Ambassador

  • Core group member intentionally penetrates a pre-existing social network as an ambassador for Christ (II Cor. 5:20) and serve as a bridge to the church.


7. Use Your Platform

  • What do you like to do?

  • Chances are, there are lost people who have the same interest.


8. Community Assessment

What are the primary concerns of your community?

How do you know?

What can your church do about these needs?


Ministry Alignment

  • We think bible study and spiritual development.

  • Community thinks finding child care, dealing with divorce, learning English as a second language, fixing car, etc.


Key Principle: Indigenous

  • Indigenous: “Out of the soil.”

  • Ministries that “fit” your church and don’t need external resources to accomplish the ministry.

  • Learn international missions lessons.


More Than Water Bottles


No Brainer Networks


1. Welcome Wagon

  • The most receptive people in any community are new people that move in. You have about 45 days.

  • Most planters ignore this network.


2. EFCA Network

  • Do you know anyone living in the community where we are planting a new church?

    • National,

    • District,

    • Plant web sites


3. Church Connections

  • Paul’s Pattern

    • Synagogue connection

    • “God-fearers”.

    • Gentiles on the fringe

  • Not church pirate

    • Disconnected Christians

    • Requires Discernment


4. Recovery Networks

  • What are the major addictions of your community?

  • Where are people in bondage?


Leadership: Bridging Issues


1. Gives Authenticity

  • They will know you’re my disciples if you have love for one another. John 13:35

  • Nothing establishes authenticity in the community more than servant evangelism.


2. Establishes External DNA

  • Servant evangelism drives the evangelism DNA deep into your core group and helps them from naturally developing an inward focus. It is not about us.

    • Salt & Light: Mt. 5:13ff


3. Be Smart

  • At this stage in your church plant development, the planter can’t personally spend a disproportionate amount of his time with highly needy and dysfunctional people.

  • Mark 1:38


4. Events, Not Ministries

  • GO, BUT WAIT!

  • Prenatal: KISS

  • Prenatal: Gathering

  • Now: Events

  • Latter: Ministries


MAP: Community Plan

  • Person of peace?

  • Intentional ambassador?

  • Pre-existing networks?

  • Servant evangelism?

  • Bridge ministries?


The End


Key Books


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