I want you to look at three maps that just rocked my world.
In my January 10th article How To Grow From 1,000 to 5,000, I quoted Dudley Rutherford, who gave me this advice:
“Brian, to grow you must reach out to a larger geographical area than your small, well-trodden target community.”
Of course, like most of us do, I ignored this great advice and went about my merry way.
Well, last week I asked one of my staff members to take Church Community Builder, our church management software, and plot on Google Maps where all of our people are coming from.
Here is that map…
Notice our logo in the middle, with attending households represented by blue plot points. Our attenders stretch from downtown Philadelphia and northern New Jersey in the bottom right corner, to Reading, PA in the top left, and Allentown to the top right.
Now, look at the exact same map with a faint green 10-mile radius circle underneath. It’s hard to see, but you can see it…
That green circle represents 100% of our focus for the last 17 years as a new church plant. All marketing and church ministries have focused EXCLUSIVELY on this 10-mile radius of our building.
Now look at the exact same map with a yellow circle representing a 25-mile radius circle…
Do you see what I’m seeing?
I was speechless when I first saw this.
You MUST DOUBLE Your Geographical Target Area
Here are 10 things I’ve taken away from this exercise.
- I am an idiot.
- No, seriously, I am an idiot.
- For the past 17 years I have had tunnel vision.
- Right now I feel like God is speaking directly to me and saying, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
- We have been missing INCREDIBLE opportunities to evangelize people because I have told our people for years, “People won’t drive that far.” Well, this disproves that. People will drive this far. They’re already doing it!
- Have I mentioned that I am a complete idiot? It bears repeating.
- This is a COMPLETE game changer for me. My mind has been blown.
- When I was 18 years old, God put a dream on my heart to move to a major unchurched metro area and start a new church that grows to 5,000+ and starts 20 daughter churches to reach that entire metro area. This map underscores that DESPITE my unwillingness to lift up my eyes and see the whole region, that HE is building HIS church. With or without me.
- I am going to unleash holy heck on the gates of hell in this 25-mile target area.
- I wonder how many Senior Pastors out there need to do the same.
For all my Senior Pastor friends reading this, listen to one more piece of advice Dudley shared:
“People will drive a long way to be a part of a church like yours. They just don’t know it exists.”
Please don’t make the same mistake I made and refuse to believe that.
You, and your staff, and the amazing people in your church are EXPONENTIALLY better than you give yourself credit for.
Trust Dudley when he says that people will drive a long way to be a part of a church like yours. They just don’t know it exists.
Do this exercise.
Plot your people on a map.
Double the site of your geographical target area.
Lift up your eyes and “see” the harvest in front of you.
Then pull the nuclear option on the gates of hell in your region.
You can do this.
I got your back.