It's all about the people

Yesterday I wrote about a mission trip I'll be taking with some 90 other people to Orting, WA, this summer. The purpose of that post was to share with y'all the diversity and complexity of the the Pacific Northwest that could bring us some exciting challenges once we arrive there. But I left something very important out. The people.

In the midst of planning and analyzing, I sometimes forget that it's the people of Orting that we are going to meet. Forget whatever the current data reports about a region, the individual person is much greater than any data sheet.

It seems as if any strategy that churches or other religious groups embrace, their target for that strategy is often viewed as a whole and not as individual parts. There are youth groups, children's groups, couple's ministries, singles ministries, etc. And while our whole thought process has to be about embracing everyone, we can't lose sight of individuals.

Let me illustrate my point. Many churches today will attempt to determine who their target audience is for their ministry focus. Let's say that a church has determined that, giving the dynamics of where they are located, their focus is going to be on reaching 25-35 year old young professionals. They might even give a name to their focal person, such as Professional Pete or Professional Patty. So, they set out to reach people in those groups.

But what happens when the individuals they encounter don't fall into that category? What if they wind up meeting people who aren't like their prospective Pete and Patty? If they set out to only find those people in their set demographic, then that's all they'll find but they will miss out on many, many others.

We have an idea of what the group is like in Orting, WA, but I haven't met a single individual there yet. And it wouldn't surprise me if the individual people that I met didn't exactly mesh with the general description of the populace. I'm going to Orting to reach a group within that community for Christ but my primary focus is going to be on reaching out to the individuals - the men and women that I encounter daily on the streets.


Hazel said...

Sterling: Please look me up when you come to Orting at City Hall. I'll take you for a cup of coffee. Cheryl Temple, Mayor,City of Orting

Sterling Griggs said...

Hazel, that sounds great. I'll be there July 8-15.

Sterling Griggs said...

I mean Cheryl, not Hazel. Sorry!

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