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Tools like TheARDA.com can pinpoint the locations of congregations in specific areas.

Church planting is hard. Leading a congregation to plant other churches is hard. However, the commitment to plant another church matters— not just for the growth of God’s kingdom but also for the growth of the congregation you lead. It’s worth the risk.” — MICAH FRIES, senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee

campuses of our own church. In doing so, we’ve had to develop ways to pinpoint where to plant in our city. We used a combination of exercises that may help you as you think about leading your own congregation to plant other churches. 1. Know the social makeup of your community. I’m often amazed at how few pastors and church leaders know the history and cultural/social demographics of their communities. Pastors should view themselves as missionaries—and so should the people who make up the congregations. Learning about your community is simple. While it’s possible to spend a fair amount of money for detailed demographic reports, you can also learn valuable information while spending next to nothing. Begin with the U.S. Census Bureau website. Use its free tools to identify what is happening in the immediate areas around your church and in the larger area that makes up your community. Then assemble a focus group from within your church, making sure to include people of both genders and multiple generations and races. Ask them questions that get at the heart of your community, such as: • What are the biggest social challenges in our community? • What are the most appealing elements of our community? • In what ways has our community changed in the past 10 years? Use the Census Bureau’s demographic data and a summary of your focus group to create a profile of your community. 2. Know the religious makeup of your community. It seems when pastors and church leaders survey the religious makeup of their communities, they find something surprising. For example, last year Barna Research found my city, Chattanoo-

44 • Facts & Trends

SPRING 2018

Facts & Trends -Spring 2018 - SOAR  

Facts & Trends is designed to help pastors and other Christian leaders navigate the issues and trends impacting the church by providing info...

Facts & Trends -Spring 2018 - SOAR  

Facts & Trends is designed to help pastors and other Christian leaders navigate the issues and trends impacting the church by providing info...