My church planting mentor made a recommendation as we were about to make our move to a new community. “Make sure you have 10 points of contact in your new town – where you get your hair cut, where you buy coffee, and the organizations to which you belong.”
It seemed like good advice, but I didn’t realize how good it was. Then I began adding my 10 points. Each connection was like a stone thrown in a pond, rippling out to the shore – multiplying my effort.
First there was the Chamber of Commerce, then the local leadership course – a Chamber program. A business networking organization followed, and then other commitments that led me deeper into community life. None planned. None expected.
Within a year I had my 10 points of contact, and my mentor was correct about its value. With each new connection I learned more about my new community and became more and more connected to the people who lived here.
It became obvious that embedded in his/her new community is the best place for a planter. There is a direct relationship between the level of involvement and the level of trust. In other words, people tend to trust you more when they see you with sleeves rolled up working for the good of your community.
You could call it anthropology because you inadvertently find out about culture, mores, values, politics, needs, and community pains. A skillful church planter does a lot of listening and spends more time “outside” a church community gathering information and ideas.
My involvements led to becoming president of a few organizations, being asked by the City to chair a couple of committees, and serving on a board or two. More and more people. More and more trust. More and more insight.
Church planters who build strong connections to their towns do so by connecting, listening, and serving. There’s no shortcut to this; it’s a slow process of adding involvements that arise from connections.
Call it anthropology.