What do Congregating, Clustering, Clumping and Connecting Have to Do with Church?

I want to share an observation, a problem and a potential solution with you. I believe a major key to building a powerful ministry is the ability to connect with the people groups in our communities. The challenge I often see in the churches I visit and some I coach is the natural tendency for the congregations to be attracted to people like themselves. Our congregations tend to cluster and clump together based on their education, age, race, professional status, and other characteristics. We seem to connect with others based on shared interests and spend time with those who have experiences and perspectives similar to our own. We are comfortable with these groups of people. The end result is we generally associate with the same circle of people. If we limit ourselves to our circle of friends in our church the exposure of our ministry will be restricted. It will be limited to the same circle of people we know. The problem is this makes it difficult for us to connect with new people we are called to reach. This clustered and clumped situation in our churches can eventually be a recipe for a slow and painful death of our ministries. Isn’t it obvious if we don’t reach new people and we rely solely on biological growth our churches will eventually shrink, shrivel and die?

Let me challenge you to think about the unreached world in your community that is beyond the security of your circle of friends in your church. We all have our own personal comfort zone where we can relate and relax with those we know well and that know us well. We are similar and therefore gravitate to each other. This is natural but what ministry opportunities could we be missing because our congregations are isolated and insulated and therefore not connected to those in other circles in our communities? Somehow or another we must find a way to reach out and effectively connect with new people who need Christ. Let me suggest one way to do that. Start looking for linchpins* in your congregation. Linchpins are people who are a part of more than one network of people. They are connectors who because of their interests, skill sets, career or some other factor in their lives are able to effectively connect with different groups of people. My guess is there are a number of linchpins in your congregation and you simply need to tap into them and exercise their ability to serve as bridges and gateways to other groups of people in your community. 

I’ve prepared a couple of ministry resources to help us conquer this natural tendency in ourselves and in our congregations. Click on the links below to learn about them.


Developing Your Connectivity

Building Redemptive Relationships

*Achieving Success Through Social Capital by Wayne Baker

Marshall Shannon
Ministry Design Coach
Pre-Construction Navigator
 Equipping & Encouraging Pastors and Ministry Leaders 
 Creating Facility Design Solutions


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