Chapter 11: Meet the people
After you have confirmed your target barangay it's time to meet the people—as many as you can. A church plant with only a few contacts will probably produce a weak church. Making many contacts will get the church off to a strong start. Papaano kaya? Mabuti na lang, marami tayong magagaling na methods to make contacts! Dito makikita natin ang creativity ng Pinoy!
85 possible methods
1. Contacts gained through your community survey
You probably met some potentially good contacts when you did your community survey (Step 4). Now is the time to follow them up.
2. Webs of relationships
Once you have a solid contact, show them the picture below.
Ask them if they have any family members whom they could invite to an OBS (Outreach Bible Study). Any relatives? Any kumadres? Any neighbors? Any friends? This is the best way to make fruitful contacts! No other method can compare.
We see contacts made like this in the New Testament.
• Cornelius – He "called together his relatives and close friends" to hear the message of salvation (Acts 10:24).
• Lydia – She put her faith in Christ (Acts 16:14), and then her household followed (Acts 16:15).
• The Philippian jailer – He heard the message of salvation (Acts 16:31), then "the whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe" (Acts 16:34).
• A demonized man – Jesus ministered deliverance to this man, then told him to "Go home to your family and tell them" (Mk. 5:19).1
In a survey, 14,000 church members in the U.S. were asked how they were brought into their church. Their answers:2
Through the pastor 5%
A church program 2%
Sunday School 4%
Special need 1%
Just walked into church 2%
Evangelistic crusade 1%
Friend or relative 84%
I'm sure that these figures would vary some if a survey like this were done in the Philippines. Probably even more than 84% of Filipinos are brought into church through friends or relatives. They have more friends and relatives kasi. They're more relational. So let's take advantage of this!
If you start in a barangay without any contacts you can use some of the other methods listed to make your first contacts. Then, as soon as possible, follow-up on the webs of relationships of your good contacts.
You may have heard this method also called Oikos Evangelism3, Friendship Evangelism or Referrals. Our church planters now call this the "Kilala System."
3. House-to-house visitation and witnessing
Pastor Winnie Saniel required all 27 members of his church in San Jose, Mindoro—no exception—to undergo on-the-job training in house-to-house witnessing. They planted six daughter churches through mobilizing the whole congregation! The mother church exploded! Total membership of the mother and daughter churches reached 2,000!
4. Evangelistic prayer visitation
This is a powerful variation of ordinary house-to-house witnessing. Go house-to-house, informing people that you will be having a prayer meeting. Tell them you would like to pray for their needs. Ask them if there is anything you could pray for them. Then, go meet with your team, or other prayer group, and pray for these needs. Return soon to see if the Lord answered your prayer. Do this a few times, to develop a good relationship with the contact. Hopefully, you'll soon have a chance to pray in their house for them. Then you can begin sharing Scripture also, until you have an OBS. This is fun to do, and fruitful too.
Pastora Dolly Tabunan uses a variation of this method. She goes house-to-house, offering prayer for the needs of the family. Her goal is to get into the home, pray for their needs on the spot, and share Scripture. This has produced 90% of the members of the church she planted in Bgy. Punta, Jala-Jala, Rizal.
For more on Prayer Evangelism, see That None Should Perish by Ed Silvoso, pp. 57-96.
5. Evangelistic Christmas caroling
As you carol in your target barangay, assure those you sing to that you are there to give, not to receive. You may also want to give an inexpensive gift. Return soon to further develop the relationship begun.
This one's easy to do. Walk around the barangay at ngumiti. Try to start a friendship with those who smile back.
Pastor Joel Suque, in Calauan, Laguna, goes beyond smiling. He greets everyone he sees as he walks or bikes through the barangay. This produced 170 contacts.
8.Beauty parlor, barber shop
This is a great place to istambay and make contacts. Customers being served and those waiting have nothing to do.
In Cogeo, Antipolo City, Pastor Omar Fadul surveyed 2,000 homes and found 70 unmarried couples. He performed a free mass wedding, which most of them gladly received. Naging ninong pa siya sa lahat. He then formed a church from these newlywed couples!
10. House blessing
Pastor Dominador Herrero offered a free house blessing in a new subdivision in Montalban. (Sumisingil ang iba ng P150!) Before dedicating the house, he shared the Gospel and dedicated the residents. Afterwards, he offered an OBS. Many responded and a church was planted from these contacts.
A church planter in San Pablo, Laguna, offers to take a free picture of potential contacts, especially families. She then takes the picture to them and starts a friendship. Medyo magastos, pero mabunga raw.
Redeem the town fiesta. Use it for church planting! Have a singing contest with Christian songs. Use evangelistic drama, mime or dance. Read evangelistic Scriptures over the karaoke.
In some places, churches discourage any involvement in the fiesta. Other places have fruitfully used the fiesta. Use your judgment.
As you meet those who are sick, pray for their healing. If the Lord heals, you will have a good contact. Even if there is no healing, the love you have shown through prayer will be greatly appreciated.
14. Hospital visitation
Workers from Love of Christ prayed for a patient at Miller Hospital (Seventh Day Adventist) in Bartolome, Cebu. The Lord healed the patient! "Could you come and do this every week?" requested the hospital chaplain. Many contacts were made, and those who lived near the hospital were gathered to form a new church!
15. Deliverance ministry
Workers in Bautista, Pangasinan spent a week ministering to two demonized girls. While ministering, they got to know the families and the neighbors. These contacts witnessed God's power as the girls were set free. They were then able to open six OBSes and plant a church.
16. Radio, TV
The Southern Baptists have started many churches by asking people if they have heard their radio program, Dahil May Buhay, aired on DZAS and DZRH. They freely invite all other groups to use this as a resource.
Many conduct evangelistic concerts using their own local talent. Metropolis for Christ provides nationally known singers, along with sound equipment. Arrange bookings through Rev. Leo Alconga, Coordinator (435-5784, 927-6069). The only responsibility of those who schedule a concert is to follow-up on the contacts to plant a church!
18. Film showing
One great resource for evangelistic films is Christian Light Foundation, Inc. They will come to your location in their truck equipped with a projector, sound system, generator, tracts and response cards! They are based in Quezon City, Legaspi City, Tuguegarao City, Bacolod City and Calbayog City. You can contact their central office in Quezon City at 374-5082, 410-1649, email@example.com.
19. Chalk talk
In a chalk talk, a speaker makes simple chalk drawings while presenting the Gospel.
Pastor Inocencio of UNIDA planted a church from 50 contacts gained through one chalk talk in Tanza, Cavite.
Philip Go of Sowers uses chalk talks at Sinulog, Cebu's annual festival. He mobilizes five or six roving chalk talk teams. Every year, hundreds profess to receive Christ.
20. Livelihood projects
Love of Christ teaches the care and breeding of chickens, and supplies the initial pair to help contacts get started. They only ask that recipients give some of the eggs away and help others begin also. They then go back and visit the multiplied web of contacts.
21. Relief work, feeding
In Cagayan de Oro, Love of Christ networked with the DILG in food supply distribution. They conducted OBSes before distribution. Strong contacts were made with 70 families.
A member from Love of Christ was on the staff of Philippine General Hospital. She helped the sick who were in need to get free or discounted assistance at PGH. Through this, in less than a year, they planted a church of 85 in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
23. Used clothing
Jesus Christ Spring of Eternal Hope has opened many OBSes at their church plant in Marikina by distributing used clothes and toys gathered from their mother church.
In Ampid, San Mateo, Pastor Menardo Amoroso met 50 families and planted a church through involvement in the local PTA.
25. Dinner fellowship
A contact of Pastor Winnie Saniel invited several neighbors for dinner. Maraming dumating. He opened OBSes kaagad and planted a church in Naga City.
Pastor Rafael Salonga used kilawin to plant a church in Malibay, Pasay.
26. Business contacts
Pastor Rafael Salonga gained 37 contacts from his wife's business.
27. Child evangelism, DVBS
Pastor Joel Indico held an afternoon children's class in Bacoor, Cavite. "Why isn't there anything for us?" many parents asked. Evening Bible studies were begun for them, which led to planting a church. Pastor Joel used children as a bridge to their parents.
A possible danger in planting a church this way is unintentionally creating an image that your ministry is only for children. If parents mistakenly get this image, they may never attend. "Papupuntahin na lang namin ang aming mga anak," sabi ng iba.
28. Book of Hope
This is a magazine-type publication using Scripture portions in an attractive format.
29. Evangelistic crusades
Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos pray to receive Christ every year in crusades. Unfortunately, only a small percentage become involved in a church. We can greatly increase this percentage of those who will become active in our new church by planning good follow-up. In addition to the counseling received at the crusade, visit those who received Christ to start an OBS for them. In the OBS, their understanding of salvation and commitment to Christ will deepen.
The best day to follow-up is the day after the crusade. This also applies to other impact events. Research on follow-up of church visitors has shown that a high percentage will attend church again if visited within two days. After that, the percentage of those who return drops quickly with each day that passes.4
I suspect that the information on the graph on p. 182 is similar to those who respond at crusades. The sooner we follow them up, the more likely they will respond to having an OBS.
When making plans for the crusade, don't just plan the crusade itself and stop there in the planning. At the same time, plan the follow-up. Just as you plan who will be the speaker, who will set up the sound system, etc., plan also who will do the follow-up. Schedule this in advance. Make this very clear to the team.
Everything said here about follow-up applies to any type of evangelistic event like medical missions, concerts, chalk talks, and so on.
For even greater fruit, if you already have some good contacts in the barangay, mobilize them to invite their contacts. Use Webs of Relationships as described in #2. Research has shown that those who received Christ at a crusade, who are brought by a friend, are likely to come into the new church. Those who are brought by a friend are ten times more likely to come into the church, compared to those who come without a contact.
The League of Philippine Evangelists publishes a directory of speakers, available to serve in your crusade. Call PCEC at 433-1549 or 913-1655 to receive a copy.
In Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte, nabigo si Pastor Winnie Saniel. No methods for making contacts worked. He experimented with a harana with those celebrating their birthdays. The team brought food, sang, then shared the Gospel. Nag-click! They planted a church!
31. Rehab center
While in Naga City, Pastor Winnie Saniel trained the deaf and blind to team together to do house-to-house witnessing. Many responded. They planted the church named Bicol Christian Deaf and Blind Rehab Center, composed both of those without handicaps who were reached, and deaf and blind members of the church planting team!
Here are many more methods that are being used by creative Filipino church planters. You're sure to find an idea that will fit your target barangay!
32. Tract distribution, Bible distribution or distribution of Scripture portions
Try using the sari-sari stores or kainans of your members or contacts for this.
33. Secular seminars- Examples: cooking, nutrition, health, exercise, childbirth, child-raising, investing, agriculture
34. Christian videoke
35. Beauty tips
36. Istambay sa kanto
37. Parties- birthdays, anniversaries, baby dedications, memorial services, or other occasions.
38. Sports evangelism
39. Field trips, excursions, camping
40. Homeowners Association
41. Native dance
43. Tape lending
44. Video showing in homes (Jesus Film, Hinugot sa Dilim)
45. Street cleaning
46. Aerobics ministry
47. Art competition
51. Service clubs, such as Rotary
53. Libreng tubig
55. Book sharing
56. Table and chairs lending
57. Free art lessons
58. Barangay assembly meeting
59. Music and drama
60. Evangelistic seminar, Life in the Spirit seminar
61. Medical ministry
62. Dental ministry
63. Puppet show
64. Values formation teaching
69. Support groups
73. Libreng masahe
76. Street corner evangelism(Huwag lang humingi ng pera.)
77. Sowers International
78. Community development (could be done in cooperation with government agencies)
79. Christian Schools
80. King's Kids (YWAM)
81. Recreation center
82. Hometown association
83. Welcome party
84. Libreng car wash
Guidelines for making contacts
1. Keep contacts close together
2. Get a solid core of residents
If you reach all transients, your church will soon disappear. Yes, transients also need the Lord. But you'll need at least a core of stable residents to plant a church. A more fruitful approach would be to first plant a stable church among long-term residents. Then the people in that church can reach out to transients.
3. Make lots of contacts
When you begin your worship service, it's important to get off to a strong start. Many experienced church planters feel this takes at least twenty people participating in the first worship services (not including children). To do this you will need to make plenty of contacts and open many OBSes.
Let's review. To get twenty solid believers in the first worship services you will probably need a total of at least 30 in all your different OBSes. Probably not all from the OBSes will come to the worship service. To get a total of thirty in all your OBSes you will probably need at least fifty good contacts. Some contacts that you thought were good won't follow through and participate in an OBS.
It's not hard to get this many contacts. We usually get 100 contacts through our evangelistic events. As an alternative, if you have a few solid contacts and followup on their webs of relationships, you'll quickly have more than fifty.
Fifty contacts is the bare minimum. More is better!!
Pastor Rey Calusay, in Antique, uses the lusob method in their Summer Of Service program. They raise up large teams that go together for 1-2 weeks to a target barangay. They saturate the barangay with evangelistic activities all day. This produces plenty of contacts! They leave a church planter behind to continue the process of establishing the church. Pastor Rey's teams have planted over 110 churches in this way.
Dr. Eli Javier also used this method to plant many of the Light of the World churches.5
&Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Cor. 9:6)
I know this verse is about "sowing" through giving materially and "reaping" benefits from the Lord. But the principle of sowing and reaping also applies to making contacts in church planting. If we sow abundantly by making many contacts, we are more likely to reap abundantly by planting a strong church. If we sow sparingly by making few contacts, we will probably also reap sparingly in the church we plant, if we even succeed in planting a church at all.
This is another huge mistake that many church planters make. They don't make enough contacts.
Yes, there are some churches that started out as a single OBS that grew and grew and became a large church. But for every one of these which succeeded in planting a strong church from a single OBS, there are 100 that either died out or remained very small and struggling habang buhay. You will only strengthen your church plant by making lots of contacts and opening many OBSes.
Remember: Make all the contacts in one concentrated area.
4. Write them down
When you make lots of contacts it's hard to remember everyone. I always carry a small pad of paper and bolpen in my pocket when I'm in the target barangay. When I make a new contact, I write his or her name down on my pad. When I get home, I transfer the names to my "Contacts List." You can photocopy and enlarge the worksheet on p. 190, or improvise and make your own.
Everyone on the list is a prospect for an OBS.
Date Place Other
contacted met information
5. Concentrate on one type of target people
In Step 4 we discussed the importance of clarifying who your target people are. Now, as we make contacts, it's important to make contacts with this group of people. If your target is the rich, focus on the rich. If your target is the poor, focus on the poor. If you do, when you bring them all together to form a church, magkaka-vibes sila. If you make contacts with others, you may open OBSes with them, but it's unlikely they will come into the new church. Sayang. There are exceptions. But this is what usually happens.
6. Respect the head of the household
Whenever you have a good contact for a potential OBS, be sure to meet the head of the household. Start a friendship. Pray hard and work hard to include him in the OBS. Do all you possibly can. When you win the head of the household, you've got a good chance of reaching the whole family or clan.
Pastor Winnie Saniel applied this when planting a church in Bgy. Sta. Rita, Olongapo City. The head of the household he made friends with had 15 children. He led him to Christ and helped him grow in his faith. As he gained the approval of this head of the clan, he was able to lead eight of his adult children to Christ. Along with them came thirty grandchildren! Pastor Winnie quickly planted a church of fifty people. Forty came through the head of one household!
Perhaps the head of the household still won't participate. At least get his permission to hold the OBS in his home. Hopefully he'll become more responsive as the OBS proceeds. Without this blessing, you may open an OBS, and even lead some family members to Christ. However, you might encounter resistance if you try to extract family members and bring them into the new church.
7. Discover and try to meet real needs
People's deepest need is the Gospel. They may not feel this need as strongly as they may feel more immediate, pressing needs. Helping to provide for these felt needs may open the door for us.
In our list of 85 Possible Methods, the use of kawanggawa is a good example of meeting a felt need. Libreng kasal provided a solution to the guilt felt by unwed couples. Providing a house blessing meets the need of those in fear of the spirit world. There are many more examples.
In attempting to meet real needs, it's best to try to provide long-term solutions. Short-term solutions that build dependence on church planters could be counter-productive.
8. Use a personal touch
Visit contacts. Do things with them. Learn about what interests them. Talk about this with them. Be there at times of crisis. Use any method to make a contact. Then, be a friend!
Pastor Ronnel Gabriel of Love of Christ International Ministries once said to me, "If I develop a good relationship with someone, they'll come anywhere with me."
"Including church?" I asked.
"Including church!" he confidently answered.
A personal touch will make all the difference—lalo na sa Pinoy.
9. Introduce contacts to friendly Christians
"Ang bait ng ipinakilala mo sa akin,"Ate Lori said to me.
As soon as possible, help contacts make friends with several Christians who will also be a part of the new fellowship. This will greatly increase the likelihood they will stay in the new church. Sadyain natin.
10. Live in the target barangay
If this is possible, it would be a big advantage. In cases where this isn't possible for the planter, team members living in the target barangay would be very helpful.
11. Make contacts with non-Christians
I shouldn't have to include this. Unfortunately, some are "planting churches" by getting members from existing churches. This produces no growth in the Kingdom of God. It only creates sama ng loob and divisions, which hinders evangelism. When making contacts, look for non-Christians, ha?
Methods that may not be effective in church planting
There are some methods of making contacts that are good for evangelizing. However, they may not be the best methods for planting a church.
1. Jail ministry
This is good if you are going to plant a church inside the jail compound, as some have done in Muntinlupa. If you are planting a church outside, it may be years before your contact is released. What if he is in for life? Are you sure where he will live when he is released?
2. Bus preaching
Maybe the pasahero is only on vacation. Maybe they live in a far away place.
3. Street preaching, in busy places
Saan galing ang mga tao?How will you contact them again?
4. Internet evangelism
Baka taga-ibang bansa ang ma-contact mo.
To plant a church, select methods that allow for immediate follow-up on those who respond. Also, try to make contacts who live in a small geographic area.
Select effective methods
We have looked at many possible methods for making contacts. We have seen some important guidelines. We've also seen some methods that may not be effective for church planting. Now, the question is: Which methods will you use?
Think about your target people. Choose methods you think will be especially effective in reaching them. Now is the time to use what you learned about your target group in your community survey. If one method turns out to be ineffective, try another. There's no shame in trying a method that doesn't work. There are plenty of others to choose from.
After you have made lots of contacts, you're ready to open Outreach Bible Studies (OBSes).
Action planning and discussion
1. Do you agree that using webs of relationships is the best way to make contacts? Why or why not?
2. Have you ever been a part of an evangelistic crusade where many people prayed to receive Christ, but very few came into the church? What could have been done differently to produce more fruit?
3. What other creative ways to make contacts can you add, in addition to those described in this chapter?
4. What will you do if you have a good contact living very far from your target barangay?
5. Do you agree that we should focus on one type of people as our target in making contacts? Why or why not?
6. What might be some felt needs in your target barangay?
7. Can you think of examples of church plants that only made a few contacts? What happened?
The main thing to do now
qOf all the possible methods for making contacts, choose two or three that you will use to get started:
qMake at least 50 contacts.
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