Want to reach people? Go where they are!


To me the most important part of the LifeWay research report was buried at the end. I’m not a church starter, pastor or evangelist, but Lindsay Cofield has taught me one basic thing. If a church is going to reach people, its membership must engage people.

So where are unchurched people? The LifeWay report has some answers. Here’s where it says unchurched people like to “hang out.”

More than three times as many people chose a sit-down restaurant (47 percent) rather than any other single response. Other locations that topped the list include: a bar or nightclub (15 percent), a local coffee shop (13 percent), and a sporting event or recreational activity (5 percent).

According to the survey, the reasons they meet with friends where they do is because these places are relaxing (62 percent), casual (55 percent), and fun (29 percent). When asked to describe in their own words design features of the kind of place they’d like to meet a friend, 16 percent of respondents referred to a quiet environment. Another 14 percent mentioned comfortable seating as a factor, and 12 percent said that the spaciousness and openness of the setting was important.

Sounds a lot like places Christians hang out. We go to restaurants. We go to coffee shops. We go to sporting events. Don’t tell anyone, but some Baptists even go dancing at nightclubs. If we build friendships with people God places in our life, they’ll allow to engage them in spiritual conversations.

Invite a neighbor out to eat. Go to the game with a co-worker. Who knows where it might lead.

What’s the research say to you?

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2 Responses to “Want to reach people? Go where they are!”

  1. wackypreacher Says:

    Not far from our little church an old abandoned school gym may be used as a family atmosphere dance hall. I for one will be going there and getting to know people. What a golden opportunity to share the gospel!! Of course I wish the church would sponsor a country and western dance night, but some of our people say “Christians don’t dance!!”.
    About an hour south of Abilene, is a dance hall called “The Grand Old Oplin”. It is an old school gym that has about 100 people every Friday night for family atmosphere dancing. Students from Hardin-Simmons make the drive each Friday just to go to a nice clean environment to dance. The church needs to go outside the walls to reach people for Christ.

  2. John Says:

    The other day I was at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene. I met a senior lady in the church who explained to me that she had to learn how to dance in order to fit into her Sunday School class. Dancing is what they did for fun. Can you imagine that? A person who needed to learn to dance to fit in in a Baptist church?

    In a world where people always say Baptists don’t dance, the Prime Timers class at Pioneer Drive is saying Let’s go dance. It’s an outreach opportunity that also helped the class build community.

    By the way, I understand she picked it up quite well.

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