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There is a spectrum of approaches for creating community with and among unreached people. Let’s draw from the world of technology for an anology.
Technologies exist on an opacity/ transparency spectrum. [Hat Tip to polymath and wordmaven Dean Sharp for the find].
An OPAQUE technology is one in which the technology being used is cumbersome or is
“in the way.” Posting a photo to your website using HTML is opaque. The HTML stands
between you and the task you’re seeking to accomplish. In a sense, you can’t “see” through
the technology to the photos you want to post. Opaque technologies require skills and capacities that do not come naturally to the user. For a more TRANSPARENT technology, think of using “Point to and click” technology to drag the photo of your choice into the page you’re creating. Using your finger to point is more natural to the user than typing HTML.
A transparent technology is one in which the technology is invisible.
Opacity and transparency exist on a spectrum and not necessarily across a divide.
In the world of community building and/or church planting, approaches will be somewhere on the Opacity/ Transparency spectrum. An opaque strategy would be one in which the following words, images or practices — church, cross, services, programs, worship, fellowship — combine with any of the following words contemporary, postmodern, alternative.
An example of an OPAQUE church planting approach
would be this billboard I recently saw:
Pastor XYZ invites you to
programs for all ages
Sunday’s at 11
“this is not your father’s church”
This is obviously communication from Christians to Christians. Within churched circles this
communique is somewhat transparent. For the outsider, this communication is OPAQUE. All they might know for certain is that their father didn’t go there.
An example of a more transparent church planting approach would be:
invite an unreached person to join you for dinner at a local restaurant.
Throw a party and include your unreached neighbors on the list.
Go to parties with your unreached friends.
You get the idea. The transparent approach puts relationships on the forefront.
The opaque approach hides them behind programs, worship, church services, etc.
A “party” is transparent. An excuse for people to get together, have fun, build friendships. Not of all us like parties, but the intent is obvious. You can “see” through it.
One of the the first steps in effective evangelism is becoming normal again. Social again. Transparent again. Reaching people may be easier and scarier than we thought. Easier because we don’t need a budget, a building, a core team, or a seminary education. Scarier because there is nothing stopping you.
See you in the mystic…
Into the Mystic Updates:
- Register before Nov 15 for HUMANA 2.0 in Orlando, Fl with AlexMcManus (IMN), ErwinMcManus (MOSAIC), DavidArcos(MOSAIC) and save.
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- next newsletter: a transparent strategy you can use in your context.