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Successful fisherman know what bait to use. And where to fish. They do not control if the fish bite, that is out of their control. They have surveyed the water, looked at available food supplies, checked temperatures, well ... the list goes on.

At the same time, you might know someone (be someone) who was taught to fish by sitting on the bank waiting for something to attach itself to the line. That is called: One jerk waiting for a jerk.

The point being - some wait for something to happen, others plan for something to happen.

Jesus called us to be fishers-of-men. He knew that his audience could extrapolate from their life experience to apply that to kingdom life.

For those ministering in a cross-cultural setting, for those working in a demographic that is not their own age, you must know what type and needs of the fish you desire to target. Comprehending felt needs is not reducing to gospel to consumerism, it is showing the relevancy of Jesus.

Unfortunately, in church after church it has often been my experience to witness a group that is answering questions, that no one in their society is asking. And we wonder why the seats are empty.

To understand your audience, you can go about that in a couple of different ways:

1. God's Word won't return void.

Just bait a hook with a verse and toss it out. Does anyone believe that words of God are spoken accidentally without relevance to a particular happenstance? Then let's exposite Revelation 17-21 in the preschool Sunday School class. And then just wait for the phone calls from parents whose kids are having nightmares to arrive, thanking you for your biblical expertise. Just wait.

2. Ignore the felt needs,

because church is for believers and worship of God.  You have no believers as a start-up. While a church is exclusively made up of believers, a church service is not to be used as a synonym. Any church service is not exclusively called-out sanctified followers of Christ.

3. Intuitive ministry.

Some have never really given analytical thought to the process of fishing; they are intuitive in their skills. It is nonetheless a good proposal to add another skillset, moving from doing something intuitively to doing it intentionally. That means that we understand the process involved. Only then can it be conveyed to others.

4. Gather information pertaining to the target audience.

Perform demographic studies, gather intrinsic information based on relational gatherings, ask questions, read widely, check in with local officials - politicians, city officials, school representatives, etc.

In the next couple of days I will further develop the process of doing demographic studies.

Keith Gandy - GermanyKeith Gandy - Germany

Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.

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