If God has called you to reach a certain people group or subculture in your community, you can create an audience filter to run into those people in higher concentrations.
Years ago I heard a tongue-in-cheek radio commercial promoting the station’s business reporter. The voice was threatening to sue because the reporter’s hard-hitting journalism had revealed the flaw in this man’s business model: he had started on online store to sell farm implements to the Amish. That’s a funny example of an audience filter used exactly backwards.
I have seen many church planters over the years stumble upon an audience filter that maximized their time by concentrating their audience in one place. And you can to!
The basic process is to begin with a clear understanding of the people group or slice of society that God has place on your heart to love and serve. As you get to know them, learn where it is that they naturally congregate, especially in places that tend to deter other groups from showing up.
A great audience filter for every church planter in North America is being out and about on Sunday mornings. You’re trying to reach people that aren’t already connected to the Church in a meaningful way, right? Between 10am-noon on a Sunday, most churched people will be in church. So whatever park, coffee shop, etc. that you visit will have a higher concentration of not-yet-believers.
Coffee Shops in Utah
I’ve supported several church planters in regions of the country that have high concentrations of members of the LDS Church (Mormons). These planters were interested in connecting with people that had no church background; their aim was not to transfer people from the Mormon Church to theirs.
As these planters understood it, devout Mormons don’t drink coffee. So by frequenting the few coffee shops in the area on Sunday mornings, they discovered an audience filter that drastically increased their chances of meeting people not connected to any church!
High School Football in a College Town
One planter was burdened to reach working-class families in a college town. What college student with an active football team at their school would bother showing up at a local high school football game? He did, and met lots of local families.
The same would probably be true of other sports in a college town. Especially where the college has a team in that sport.
Your time is limited as you’re planting a church. One way to make the most of it is recognizing an audience filter like these. That way, you can run into more of the kinds of people God has called and equipped you to reach.