How to Determine the Target of Your Church

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So far in this blog series, we’ve looked why every church has a target (defined or not) and why every church needs to have a target (and the benefits of a target).

The question then, if you believe me so far (and I hope you do as a strong leader who reads this blog) is: how do I determine the target of my church?

This can come from a variety of places:

  1. Who lives around the church you pastor.
  2. Who already attends the church you pastor.
  3. A group of people or segment of the population God has placed on your heart.

For Revolution, we looked at a couple of things to determine our target:

  1. Who is the least likely person to attend church on a Sunday morning?
  2. What is the average age of the person in Tucson?
  3. Who are we best suited to reach?

The least likely person to attend church is a 20-40 year old man. The average age of a person in Tucson is 33.

We felt we could best reach that person.

The next question a leader or a church must answer is: Are we willing to do whatever it takes to reach this person?

This might mean some changes are made to the church, new things are started, old things are buried and not used anymore. This also means that you don’t alienate others. This is one of the reasons many churches shy away from being clear about who they are best suited to reach. This is important. You want to reach everyone, but you as a person, you as a church are best suited to reach a specific person.

For us, here is what it means to reach a 20-40 year old man in no particular order:

  • Sing songs men will sing. Men don’t want to sing a love song to Jesus and they don’t want to sing high. Men also don’t usually like to clap and sing (they will only do one). Most of our songs are low, mid-tempo and about the greatness and power of God. Men resonate with these themes.
  • Portable church. Being portable is hard work and tiring. Set up and tear down is also where the majority of men serve. Most men don’t want to teach, lead a class or greet, but they will move stuff.
  • MC’s and classes have end dates. Men like end dates and our culture is set around end dates. Too many churches have groups and classes that meet until Jesus returns. Men don’t sign up for that.
  • Simple church. We don’t do a lot, we aren’t complex.
  • No women’s ministry (or men’s for that matter). I’ve written about this before so I won’t belabor this point, but if you want to reach men, a women’s ministry will unintentionally stand in the way of that. You can disagree with that, and some people do, but we’ve found this to be an inhibitor to reaching men that we don’t have one.
  • Logical sermons. Men are logical. Yes, they like stories and they like to be moved emotionally, but not as much as they want to figure things out logically. Preaching emotional sermons to women is easier, which is why many pastors do it. It is why most pastors preach from the gospels instead of a NT letter. Yet, logic wins men.
  • Preach through books of the bible. Men want to see how something fits together. That doesn’t happen in a topical sermon, but it does when you preach through a book of the Bible. It also causes you to have to preach on everything. Men want you to hit the hard topics. They want you to man up and preach tough things and answer difficult questions and wrestle with them through doubts.
  • Resources to help men lead their families. One of the reasons men don’t lead their families or read their bibles is they don’t know how to. Men will not do things they don’t think they will succeed in. So help them. Give them resources to accomplish what God has called them to accomplish.
  • Male leadership. This will sound sexist and I’m not saying it isn’t: men follow men. It is a simple truth. This doesn’t mean a church should have no female leadership. In fact, if you don’t have female leaders in your church, you will be missing out on some great ideas and balance as a church. If you want to reach men though, you need to have male leaders that are worth following, men that other men want to be like. Here are some examples of a vision that we give to men for their lives: http://www.tucsonrevolution.com/fight/ and http://www.tucsonrevolution.com/versus/.
  • Always take a next step. Men are action oriented, they want steps and they want to take them, as long as they are clear. Every week, we challenge our church to take some kind of next step. It might be to come back, to follow Jesus, get baptized, forgive someone. It is always an obvious one (or three) from the sermon.

Is this a lot to do? Yes.

When we unpack for someone new at our church, who we target and why. If they don’t like it, they almost always say, “But I appreciate it that it is clear and you thought through it.”

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