Stuck in networking neutral? Not enough good contacts? Church not growing the way you’d like? I find that a lot of church planters slip away from their heart’s desire—and their best growth strategy—once the church launches to routine public services and they get busy running the operation. They need to be out in the community, finding the “person of peace” (as in Luke 10:5-7) who, in turn, influences the opinions and actions of others.
Are you in neutral? Here’s a proven strategy, with Biblical roots, to build your network and position your church for growth. My colleague Gary Rohrmayer puts it this way: “You want people of influence to say positive things about you and your church”.
- Make a list of the next 25 people you need to meet in your community. They should be people of influence: funeral home directors, school principals, realtors. Populate this list with others on your team.
- Carve out one half day each week to drop in on those on your list. Introduce yourself as a pastor of a new church who is out trying to meet his or her neighbors.
- Seek their help. Ask, “As a pastor of a new church in this community, what advice can you give me?”
- Never go away empty handed. Ask, “Who else should I meet?” They might refer you to people who have genuine needs, or they might refer you to other people of influence. Keep populating your list.
- Never close doors: Ask, “Is it OK if I drop in on you again? I’d really appreciate your input.” And finally,
- Always give them your business card and say, “If you ever need me, call me.”
Make a prayerful commitment, and have someone hold you accountable to be a good steward of these days. You and your church will shift out of neutral as you watch the Lord bring the harvest in.