Effective church planters are missionaries who learn to exegete the culture to which they are sent!  As a church planter, you must apply the same rules of interpretation that you use to understand the scriptures to understanding your cultural context.


To be truly successful, you need to create a model that uniquely fits you, the people on your team and your context!

Don’t plant the church in your head – the one you emotionally prefer – plant the church that fits your context!

You can use this simple three-step process to exegete your community:


Observation (What do you see?)

Your goal is to see the neighborhood as God sees it, to see its hurt, its beauty, and its potential as a harvest field for God’s Kingdom.  Make at least fifty observations about what you have seen, smelled, tasted.  What has made you angry and offended?  What has broken your heart?  What has convicted you?  What has excited and encouraged you?  What have you seen God doing?  Where do you see the mighty hand of God at work?  What is not happening?


Interpretation (What does it mean?)

Your goal is to understand what your experiences mean and how to extract some meaningful principles upon which to build a church planting strategy.  Why do you think you reacted to certain experiences the way you did?  Why do you think some of the groups you saw are thriving and others are not?  What are the underlying order and causes that formed the area?  Look for the dynamics at work in creating a community.  How do you transfer your observations into principles?  What are the principles or conclusions you would create out of your observations?  List at least five.


Application (What do we do?)  ACTION LIST

You need to determine specific actions to implement as you develop a comprehensive strategic plan for church planting with an appropriate model for this community.  What should your role be in fostering and promoting a church planting movement in this community?  How are you going to leverage your resources – time, talent and treasure – in order to maximize the mission here?


As Yogi Berra said, “You can see a lot by just looking.”