FINDING THE MARKETPLACE

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Paul was bi-vocational. It was partly so that he could eat. It was partly so that he could support his team (Acts 20:4). I believe, however, that Paul could have asked almost anything he wanted from his churches support-wise, but instead chose to go where the traffic was. In the same way, the apostles in Acts 3 are visiting the temple during the time of prayer (Acts 3:1). Church planters go where the people already are.

Alan Hirsch talks about proximity spaces rather than centralized gatherings in church buildings. (p25 hirsch) If people are at a coffee shop, why start a Christian one? The name of the game is infiltration, and if you want to infiltrate people, you go where they go. You don’t ask them to come where you

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DEMOGRAPHICS WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

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Finding out what’s going on in the neighborhood is dangerous. Mainly because you’re going to get sucked into the need. When Jesus was moved with compassion for the heaving masses following him late one evening, the disciples were ready to turn them away, and Jesus pictured them being like sheep released into the darkness. Helpless and harassed, he saw them as sheep without a shepherd.

What does that mean?

To flesh that out we’d need to look at what it’s like to have a shepherd, and invert it like a reverse negative exposure snapshot of Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd…

I’m on my own. Nobody cares for me, and nobody is looking out for me. When I fall, I have nobody to pick me up.

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE

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Google is your friend. Did you know that you can profile census information? You can profile single mothers, foreign language speakers, Poverty level. Mission Insights is a valuable resource that many big denominations use.

This practice is known as “mapping”. Mapping is the practice of identifying the people you are going to reach the city. You plot a digital map, and strategize how you will reach specific neighborhoods. You can use google maps, edit them in photoshop or mark them with skitch. Every church planting map should have three sections: geographic, social, and spiritual.

Geographic – what neighborhoods are represented, what are they called, how have they formed as distinct communities, and where do they stop and

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ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US

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In order to discern your core values, you need to be able to understand what the community around you needs. Although you are deriving timeless principles from God’s word, you will be seeking to be an agent of change, and therefore your core values will reflect the burdens that God has placed on your heart by looking around.  The core values you’d emphasize in one cultural context, wouldn’t be the same as another. For example, one of our five Pillars at Pillar Church was “contemporary”. I wouldn’t have felt the need to insert that in Southern California, but that term actually meant something in a culture that had never had a Jesus movement in the 60’s and 70’s. Many of the Evangelical churches in Wales had an iron grip on orthodoxy, but didn’t have a grasp on contemporary culture. In America, however, having “contemporary” as one of your core values would be a bit redundant. Therefore, the core values that you establish in your concrete mixing stage will be somewhat reactionary to what the culture you are

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TARGETING YOUR DROP ZONE

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The first question you need to ask is where am I going to jump? How does one pick a location? In the New Testament, Paul and Barnabas “went home”. They targeted their own people. Paul targeted his fellow citizens of Turkey, and Barnabas the inhabitants of his native Cypress. On Paul’s second missionary journey, Paul thought he had it all mapped out, but the Holy Spirit kept frustrating his attempts to go places, and instead it was the Macedonian call that brought him to Greece. Maybe you’ve seen the needs of a community and feel the pull to help them. It can be a call to a specific people group like

  1. Hudson Taylor who felt called exclusively to the Chinese. Paul claimed that he was called specifically as a “sent one” to the Gentiles in every epistle.

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