Establishing a niche for Christ
It’s hard to gain a foothold for truth in today’s world.
During the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, it seemed that information from health experts was changing every week. One state elected official would say one thing and another elected state official would do another. There was even a debate amongst health experts on whether wearing masks was helpful or not. A unified response would have gained credibility. Instead, it seemed that choosing to wear a mask became a personal statement on who you believed to be telling the truth.
Credibility is important. People who are daily trying to weave through daily tidbits of information and disinformation, will eventually decide to trust one reliable source.
Churches that actively build credibility as a source of Truth will position themselves to proclaim the gospel in a powerful way. While people are redefining a new normal in a COVID-19 world, now is the time to establish a niche for Christ.
And that niche is the Truth of God’s Word.
A trendy word
With businesses and organizations competing with one another to be heard in a noisy world, establishing a niche has been serving as a common business strategy. It means finding and cultivating a group of like-minded consumers that might appreciate a specialized product or service that your company or organization offers.
Niche is a trendy word and difficult to establish. For entrepreneurs, it means trusting your product or service and believe with a whole heart that it can deliver to prospective consumers. And still today, the best way to establish a niche is by word-of-mouth.
“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)
Walmart is an example of a business that provides all things for all people so that they might win some regular shoppers.
Amazon is another example.
There will always be a Walmart and smaller local business will never be able to compete with them.
There are large churches with thousands of members that provides all things for all people so that they may win some for Christ. They have children’s programs, teen programs, pastors who are gifted speakers, and amazing music with plenty of skilled musicians.
There are many smaller, local churches who will never compete with them.
But that doesn’t mean that local churches should bring their gospel ministries to a screeching halt. Instead, they can create a niche within the neighborhood God has planted them.
The Bible tells us to be all things to all people so that we might save some. That doesn’t mean it’s a great outreach strategy. Being all things doesn’t mean that you do all things. It’s more of a mindset that you are willing to do anything to win a soul for heaven.
Now is the time to establish a niche by defining who you are and what you teach. People today are struggling to find peace and joy. They are willing to hear reasons for the hope that we have in Christ. The problem is that there is so much information and disinformation that they don’t know who to trust. They are looking for one reliable source.
A niche that will bring churches the greatest traction in a COVID-19 world is a clear and concise teaching of the Word. They introduce the Word by being a credible source of Truth. They are not afraid to uphold the Truth even if it may create offense according to the world’s standards or other church bodies. They do not attempt to appear tolerant, relevant, or attractive, but seek to engage, invite, and proclaim through loving words and gentle actions.
A congregation seeking to establish a niche for Christ fully understands that the best way to start is through its members – both verbally and digitally. It will take word-of-mouth.
Consider the invitation
I wonder if inviting people to church on Sunday morning is the best invitation in a COVID-19 world to hear God’s Word.
I even wonder if inviting people to watch a full worship service on-line is the best invitation in a COVID-19 world to hear God’s Word.
It appears that a major transition for outreach strategies in a COVID-19 world is that establishing a niche for Truth means bringing the Truth to the community rather than inviting the community to come and hear the Truth at your church.
A recent Barna report continues to reveal a staggering drop in church attendance. There could be a variety of reasons for this drop in attendance. People who are not used to a certain style of worship may feel intimidated. They don’t won’t to go to a strange place and risk being judged. Young families don’t want to come to an hour-long worship and try to keep their small children quiet and still.
I don’t think the best response is to change the worship but change the platform of communicating God’s Word to an unchurched community. Instead of inviting young families to attend church on Sunday morning, invite them to view shortened messages on-line and on-demand. Instead of inviting them or their children to a community event on the campus of your church to hear God’s Word, invite people to serve the community with your church to proclaim God’s Word.
Many small businesses are okay with being a small business. Of course, they wouldn’t mind growing into a multi-million dollars business with dozens of employees. But they have established a niche, built credibility, and have a positive word-of-mouth vibe among its valued customers.
Small businesses are successful these days by simply remaining open.
Size doesn’t give a church credibility, nor does it define success. They wouldn’t mind turning into a large ministry with many members but are most concerned with bringing many people to heaven as possible rather than increasing membership. They strive to keep their doors open by being a niche for Truth.
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