Over the years I have read many books and articles about church starting. I even took classes in Seminary related to the subject. I have found that the vast majority of church starting ideas seem to stress the group outreach mentality.
By this I mean the idea that we do mass events to draw people in and then work on the small percentage that will stay around after the event. In other words the attractional model is what seems to be the one pushed most often.
As a CBF church starter, I really, really appreciate that they affirm and support the relational model of church starting. The idea that we develop one on one relationships with people is a power. It is harder and messier. But well worth it.
Just this week the power of one on one played out before me. A man wanted to visit with me after church privately. He has struggled with many things in his life. I had a long visit with him and was reaffirmed that relational evangelism is the best and most effective way to reach people. I had been developing a relationship with this man for over a year and this week he asked questions about faith and victory of the demons in his life.
Relational models are not easy and are time consuming. When we take time to be with people and listen to the hurts and problems, it gets ugly and heartbreaking. We are sometimes drawn into their life events and it is not easy to pull away. But oh, it is well worth it.
We live one block from our church building in the mobile home park. It is a commitment to relating to people on their turf. It is a commitment to relationship building. I love that the nearby 7/11 is a connecting point. It is a place where I hear the hurt and pray for healing. Thank God we are the presence of Christ in our neighborhood.
His Love overflows, Bob Cheatheam, Pastor, Pleasant Hills Country Church