Categories for thinking about your church flock… (a.k.a. boxes to put people in)

Ok, I know that no-one – including myself – likes to be put in a box. When I take personality tests, I’m constantly trying to second guess what box they’re going to put me in and trying to offset that so I end up “un-boxable”. But, even with that in mind, it does help to have certain “non-ultimate” ways of knowing who’s around in your ministry. Here’s a few ideas:

“Crowd” – People who come irregularly, and for a variety of reasons (some good others not so good in your view) haven’t committed. They’re not really involved, they’re not in a group, they’re not keen to invite others along. They would probably call your church their church, but if everyone treated their church like that, you probably wouldn’t have a church.

“Community” – People who have committed to your church. They’ve made some type of intentioned decision to make the community of believers important and express that. They’d be giving financially, and they’d like to see their non-Christian friends come with them to meet Jesus at your church.

“Newish” – These are Christians (at least they’ve told you they’re Christians) who are new and so they’re not “Crowd” because they haven’t really had the chance to be lukewarm yet… and they’re not “Community” because they also haven’t really had the chance to faithfully express their intention to be part of the community. They could end up as one or the other… or neither and just leave.

“Non-Christian attenders” – Non-Christians who come along to church or other events your church puts on. They know that you know they’re a non-Christian, and they’re reasonably happy that you know that, and they don’t oppose the idea of you telling them they should stop being non-Christians.

“Non-Christian non-attenders” – this is everyone else in your parish/area/postcode/city. It’s the phonebook. They’re all part of your church too… just not in the way you’d like them to be… yet.

Modern day gifts: The Categorisor

I love these people, mainly because I wish I was good at it.

Categorisors are those people who look at a big list of topics, or a whole book of the bible, or listen to a 3hr conversation… and then they say something like, “So we’ve really been looking at these 4 issues… etc.”

Now, just because you’ve met someone who tries to do that, doesn’t mean they have this amazing gift. A true gifting of the categorisation spirit is on display when, and only when, the topics/categories they put forward are perfect.

Everyone in the room/discussion hears those categories and visibly sighs with relief because they can finally hang all their thoughts on some hooks. The categories just fit everything so perfectly. The buckets just seem so perfect everyone kicks themselves for not seeing it before.

Keep these gifted-people close and use their gift for the glory of God!