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How to Lead 48,000 People to Jesus

How to Lead 48,000 People to Jesus

He has room to talk.

Under the leadership of Rick Warren, Saddleback Church has baptized 48,700 people. Equally impressive: 78 percent of the church came to Christ at Saddleback.

The numbers are so big, you may not relate. You’re just hoping for a couple of new families. It’s been awhile since anyone came to Christ at your church. I understand that. You’re normal.

Saddleback isn’t normal, but it is reproducible. The principles that they have used work in any size or shape of church. It just takes leaders who will listen, hear and implement. Pray. And believe.

I spent a few days last week at the Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church. Here is a slice of what I learned at the conference about how to lead a church that wins people to Jesus.

Step One: Who are the people around you?

The first step is to have a rock-solid understanding of the people in your city.

If you have been living in your community for awhile, and have paid attention, you probably have a good sense of what motivates them. If you’re new to the area, or if you haven’t thought much about it, it’s worth your time to do some work to figure them out.

1. First, discover the demographics of your city.

How do the numbers break down for age, race, education, jobs, income and family make-up? Then what observations do you make about your church reaching your area based on those demographics? Pick up the download below for easy sources for demographics.

2. Consider the cultural make-up of your community, too.

What are the fears, values and interests of the people in your community? How strongly do they identify with their cultural heritage? Which cultures are predominant, and which are also represented? How transient are they?

Where I live, in San Diego County, 80 percent are connected to the military: marines, sailors, retired military, defense contractors and family members. We are unusually patriotic and conservative for California. And we might be packing heat.

What observations can you immediately make about the cultural biases of the people in your city? Hardworking blue collar people? Upwardly mobile college grads? Strong ethnic ties? Military?

Take a minute to jot down your initial observations. If you would like an in depth look at what they value, do an opinion poll. The questions to ask are included in the free download with this article.

“Every church caters to a culture.” Rick Warren

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Hal is the Founding Pastor of New Song Church in Oceanside, CA. New Song has helped launch a church planting movement that has planted 163,000 churches in the past fifteen years. His latest book "The Bible Questions" is designed to launch a Bible Reading Revolution in our churches and cities. To get the book, or the Campaign Kit, or find out how to participate in the movement, go to www.pastormentor.com.