Building Community as Networks
The purpose of a campaign is to support the mission of the Church to spreak the Gospel. The campaign will accomplish this by creating robust networks of people who are motivated to work together for personal and common spiritual objectives. Many, if not most of our models for building church community are social rather than purpose driven. The model for community is the family or a warm, supportive group of friends. Relationships within the church community are comforting and fun, but experience seems to show that people who are not already a part of a church community are not looking for that experience. Interesting work has been done in recent years to explore the idea of a network, or a network of teams as the model for building community[ii]. A network is a collection of people with a common purpose who use various modes of communication and teamwork to achieve their goals. Their time together might include fellowship and their relationships will likely grow to include friendship, but it is their shared purpose that draws them together.
The success of an evangelism campaign depends on the creation of new networks of Christians that have been enrolled in the purpose and mission of the campaign. These networks are nothing more than small groups and mission teams who relate to one another based on the purpose and mission of the campaign. These groups give people the support necessary to learn and live the practices of Christianity.
The long term success of the evangelism campaign will depend on consistent support and spiritual nourishment for the leaders of the groups that the campaign spawns. Leaders need regular, frequent and personal attention. A big part of the consultant’s job is to make sure that the structures and procedures are in place to support these leaders so that the network can thrive.