Monday, February 18, 2013

Memphis and Markets

Here's the storyline: "Yea, my son. He's in jail until 2015. At least he's not homeless on the streets. God, I was driving to work one day and saw him passed out on a bus bench. I stopped and got out and started yelling at him to 'Get off your  _______________.' He's 28 years old and already heading towards cirrhosis of his liver. At least he's not on the streets now."

I met Melanie, who waitresses at a pretty famous breakfast spot in Memphis, my last trip into town. I'd asked her what I could pray for her about. At that time her son was newly arrested and waiting trial. This time the story was what she said above. But this time she also told us (my co-worker Amos was with me) about her daughter who is in physical therapy school and doing well. Melanie opened up and talked with us like we were old friends, not "almost strangers" visiting her city and her table.

This weekend Gena and I did a strategic planning weekend with a church in Memphis. We had a great discussion about markets: those arenas of people we're connected with. A church has four markets:

1.  Members/Attendees: These are us, they're part of us, we share faith and life with them.
2.  Associated: These are people who know us and probably come into our building.
3.  Served: These people live in our city and we connect with them through our service.
4.  Distant: These are people who live outside our normal life connections. The only way we touch them is through mission.

What we're finding is that most churches pay redemptive attention to only two of these markets: their Members and the Distant people. And even with their Members the redemptive attention is minimal.

If we're going to impact the people in our networks we've got to pay redemptive attention to our Associated and our Served markets. This means very simply that we share faith in Jesus with the people whom God has placed in our lives. We can't assume they know anything about God, Jesus, faith, or even that we are believers. Redemptive attention means we speak with them about the redemptive presence of Jesus in their lives--and ours.

What do Markets have to do with Melanie? She's in my served market! Yes, I know she's my waitress and she's my server. But that's just in the restaurant world. In the real world I'm her server and my food and drink last forever.

Share your faith friends!

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