Carefully confirm your barangay
Romel was very eager to plant a church. One of the members of his church in Binangonan had a burden for two unsaved relatives in Angono, the next town. These relatives lived very near each other. Romel met with them. They both said they would be willing to have a Bible study in their homes. Romel checked the DAWN research and found that their barangay had no church. Knowing this, he began to plant a church.
This decision was made too quickly. Romel knew the steps to take to carefully confirm the target barangay. But he neglected to do them. He didn't know that others had tried to plant a church in that barangay and failed. He didn't bother meeting the other local pastors or leaders of the Ministerial Fellowship. They could have given him some good advice.
Romel struggled trying to open more OBSes (Outreach Bible Studies). The original two families turned out not to be very responsive. He wasn't able to gain additional contacts through them, or through other methods. After struggling for eight months, he finally gave up. Hindi nagpatuloy ang gawain. Sayang!
In Step 3, you made a tentative selection of your target barangay. This was based mostly on things you already knew, or easily found through the DAWN research. Now, it's crucial to carefully confirm your barangay.
Hasty confirmation of a target barangay may produce deep regrets. As with Romel, the project may die off after a few months, or even after years of little fruit!
But there's a hidden bonus! The actions in this step go far beyond confirming the target barangay. They will also give you a good start in laying a solid foundation in the community, if you continue there. Here's what to do to try and avoid what Romel experienced:
Meet thebarangay captain or homeowners' president
Sooner or later, you will probably be asking the barangay captain or president of the Homeowners Association for permission to do something. Medyo nakakahiya if you have been in the barangay for several months, and only meet these officials when you need their permission. It's much better to meet them right at the start, before you get active in the barangay.
You don't need the permission of these officials to plant a church. We live in a free country. But paying a courtesy call to introduce yourself and request their blessing is usually appreciated. It may also help put you in a good position for help you may need in the future.
Be clear about your plans. You can do this in a way that will probably be acceptable to them. You could say something like:
"Magandang hapon po, Kapitan. I'm Carlos Church Planter from God Is Good Fellowship in Taytay, Rizal. We're concerned for the residents here in Bgy. San Isidro, as we know you are. We'd like to volunteer to work together with you to see God's blessing come to this barangay. We'd like to serve this community, with you.
"One thing we'd like to do is bring the Word of God to those who are interested. We've been praying for everyone living here. We'd also like to pray for them in their homes. It would be a big encouragement to us to know that we have your blessing."
Mahirap tanggihan. Most officials appreciate this.
You can also ask their advice. They are a great resource since they know the community very well.
Who are other possible community leaders who are influential and respected? It would be good to meet them and gain their favor and cooperation.
Carefully observe the response of these officials. Pray that the Lord would use this to guide you in your decision about confirming this target barangay.
Meet the other local pastors, if there are any
The pastors of any churches that may be near your tentative target barangay will probably be able to give you very helpful advice. They can probably tell you if there have been evangelistic activities there, what the results were, and what things were learned. If others have tried to plant a church there and failed, they will probably know about that, too. They can probably tell you whom to watch out for and who can help you. Come as a learner. The input they give will play a big part in whether or not you confirm the barangay as your target.
Also, pastoral ethics guide us to meet the pastors nearby before opening a new work.
Be sure to build a good relationship with the other pastors in the area, right from the start. Yes, you could probably plant your church without doing this. But to make a big impact on your area, there's got to be strong unity among the pastors. You can help toward this!
We have observed that in areas where churches are growing rapidly and making a big impact, there is always strong unity among the pastors. In areas where churches are hardly growing, there is always division or indifference among the pastors. Start off right. Build good relationships. You will benefit. So will everyone else. And God will be pleased with your effort to pursue unity in the Body of Christ.
When you come to start a new work in the area, the existing pastors should welcome you in wholeheartedly. You're not a competitor. You are coming to help themto help them reach their town. All help should be welcomed, 'di ba?
Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen like that. Insecure pastors may feel threatened. Those who don't really care about reaching their whole town may prefer that you didn't come. Just do your best to try to win them over.
Talk to the leaders of the Ministerial Fellowship
The leaders of the nearest Ministerial Fellowship will probably be a very valuable resource for you. They may even inform you that there is already a church in your target barangay, when you thought there was none. They may know that someone else has already targeted your barangay. Talking to these leaders will surely help you in your decision about confirming the tentative target.
If you do confirm this target, be sure to join the Ministerial Fellowship. It's a great way to strengthen relationships with the local pastors. One of the biggest keys to evangelizing our nation is unity among the pastors. Ministerial Fellowships are a great help.
Make an ocular inspection
Walk through every street of the barangay. Observe as much as you can. Later, write down insights, ideas or impressions from the Lord.
Make sure the members of the church planting team match up with the people in the targetbarangay
Study the people in your target barangay. You can probably find helpful information about the community at the munisipyo. But there's no substitute for getting out and talking to people. Here are some things you will want to learn:
Likes and dislikes of residents
Knowing these things will help you determine if your team will be able to relate well with the people in the community. If they can't, you'd better pick another barangay. Also, after you gain a better understanding of the community, you can develop your strategy on how you will reach these particular people. This will especially affect the methods you choose to make contacts (Step 5).
One way to gain this understanding is through informal pag-iistambay. Makipagkwentuhan sa sari-sari stores, etc. Makinig nang mabuti. Mag-obserba.
Another way is through a more systematic community survey. You can photocopy the form on p. 161 or make your own.
Community Survey Form
I am ___________________ from _____________________ (church). (Show your ID and permission.) We would like to be a source of God's blessing to this community. We are thinking about possibly starting a ministry here. Before we begin we want to understand the community so we can give the right kind of help. We are doing a community survey. This is not a business. May we ask you some questions so that we could better understand this community?
q Return to this house. Hot contact
q Possible contact.
Description of a typical resident of
___________________ (target barangay)
Ideas for Ministry:
Determine the responsiveness to the Gospel
You're much more likely to plant a church if the residents are responsive to the Gospel. We've already seen that people are more likely to be responsive if
The population is growing
Cults are growing
Other churches are growing
Now, let's take a closer look at the responsiveness in the tentative target barangay. As you get to know the community, here are some more things to look for that could indicate that people will be responsive to the Gospel.
1. People are interested in studying the Bible
2. People have relatives who are born again.
3. There are those who were formerly (but no longer) involved in various cults
4. There is change occurring in peoples' lives in the community
5. People are unhappy about their condition
6. There is unity among the churches in the area
Locate the harvest force
The "harvest force" is anyone in the target barangay who can help plant the church. They may be believers or unbelievers. If you find that the harvest force is strong, this will be a big advantage. Here are some things you can look for:
1. Christians who are not yet part of a church
2. Those who received Christ in evangelistic crusades but were never followed-up
3. Sympathizers who are supportive
Listen to the Lord's voice
We listened to the Lord's voice in selecting the tentative target barangay. Now that we have studied things more carefully, it would be good to listen again. It's possible we may have missed something in choosing our tentative target barangay. The Lord may use some of the new information gathered to speak to us more clearly now.
Each team member should seek the Lord individually. The team should also have a special time together of prayer and listening to God.
Reach an agreement among the church planting team, including the leaders of the mother church
Now that further investigation has been done, once again, what is the feeling among your leaders and your church planting team? Confirming your target barangay is one of the most important decisions you will make in the church planting project! Wisdom from the observations of co-workers and church leaders is a great asset.
After you have confirmed your target barangay it's time to make contacts there! We'll see how to do this in the next chapter.
1. Carefully plan what you will say when you visit the barangay captain. Discuss this with your team. Who will make this visit? Who will do the talking?
2. If you are considering working with a tribe, meet the chieftain as soon as possible.
3. Are there other churches near your tentative target barangay?
4. What could you do to make yourself more welcome among pastors of existing churches in the area of your target barangay?
5. Can you think of an area where churches are growing rapidly? How is the unity there?
Can you think of an area where the churches are hardly growing? How is the unity there?
6. Who is the leader of the Ministerial Fellowship nearest to your target barangay?
7. What will you do to get to know your target community?
8. Donald McGavran said, "Men like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic, or class barriers. This principle states an undeniable fact." Share some real life observations that either support or deny this statement.
9. Which factors are present in your target that encourage you to believe there will be a good response to the Gospel?
10. Who could be part of the harvest force in your barangay?
11. What has the Lord spoken to you and your team about your target barangay?
12. What helpful input have you received from your church leaders about confirming your target barangay?
13. Can you think of any examples where church planters hastily confirmed a target barangay? What difficulties did this bring?
q Meet the barangay captain or homeowners' president.
q Meet the local pastors, if there are any.
q Talk to the leaders of the Ministerial Fellowship.
q Make an ocular inspection.
q Conduct a community survey and make sure the members of the church planting team match up with the people in the target barangay.
q Determine the responsiveness to the Gospel.
q Locate the harvest force.
q Listen to the Lord's voice, individually and as a team.
q Reach an agreement regarding your target barangay among the church planting team, including the leaders of the mother church.
Check one of the following:
q We confirm Bgy. _____________ as our definite target barangay.
qWe have decided that Bgy. ______________, our tentative target barangay, will not be our target. We will go back to Step 3 and select a new tentative target barangay.
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