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Bridging the Gap

07 July 2024

Suspension Bridge

As part of the relaunch of GoChurch Liverpool, we’ve recently completed the DCPI (Dynamic Church Planting International) Healthy Church Dynamics course and as anyone who’s done one of the DCPI Church Planting course will know, there are 12 church planting principles. 


We see in this week’s chapters great examples of how to use the Bridge Principle, which is “Understanding (and communicating sensitively to) the hearts and minds of people in the target community is essential to reaching them effectively with the gospel.”


As the apostle Paul travelled around spreading the gospel, his approach changed with the area and the people he was reaching.  Firstly, in Antioch, he opposed those who wanted the Gentile new believers to be circumcised according to the Jewish law, but once the elders decided against it, Paul, Silas & Timothy made sure the Gentiles knew:

“As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16 v 4-5 NIVUK


The target community in this case were Gentiles and forcing them to comply with difficult Jewish rules could have prevented them from receiving the gospel and salvation.


Later Timothy was circumcised because the target community was one where there were many Jews, and so the approach here was the complete opposite of Paul’s approach to the Gentiles.  They understood the hearts and minds of the people.


We know that Paul would go into the synagogues wherever he was to reach his fellow Jews. (Acts 17 v2) We also see him in Philippi going outside the city gates to hold a prayer meeting.  In Athens, he preached to the Jews in the synagogue as well as in the market place to non-Jews, and he went to meetings of philosophers, all to promote the good news, spread the gospel and see people saved!


Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 9 v 19-23, saying that to win as many as possible, he becomes all things to all people, for the sake of the gospel.


My question for you is: how are you reaching your target community?  Are you understanding the hearts and minds of the people you want to reach?  Are we, as established churches, expecting new believers to follow traditions and rules and regulations, just because “that’s how we’ve always done church”?


Maybe most importantly, are we going to places to find those non-believers to show them the gospel, or are we sitting in church waiting for them to find us?

Photo of Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith
Liverpool Team & Finance Manager
GoChurch Liverpool