Reaching The Online Generation

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Understanding Domains of Society and How They Affect Online Church Planting

Posted on | February 13, 2009 |

Domains of Society

Domains of Society

A couple of years ago I had a great opportunity to be part of Northwood Church’s Church Planter Internship Program.  That engagement allowed me to come on staff briefly to work with Bobby Vaughn, Northwood’s Director of Church Planting, on some church planting curricula.  I don’t think they’re using the curriculum anymore, but I learned about curricula development and church planting in the United States during the whole process.

Bob Roberts, the founding and senior pastor at Northwood Church, talked a lot about engaging the domains of society with the Gospel.  He wrote a book called The Multiplying Church (Not Affiliate Link) where he talks a bit about domains and their importance in church planting.  (I’m honored to be mentioned in the Acknowledgements with my other church planting buddies.) The photo in this post is literally a page from his book where he illustrates the concept.

There are eight domains in a global society:  Economics, Agriculture, Education, Medical/Science/Technology, Communication, Arts & Entertainment, Governance & Justice, and Family.  These domains are evident on a national scale, in your state or province, and in your city.  Depending on your geographic location, some domains are more prominent than others.

Here are some thoughts on the Domains of Society and the Church.  Some of these are from Bob and some are leaps I’ve made.

The Church equips Believers to meet the needs of their Domain.

 The Church’s job isn’t to train Believers to serve the clergy or the local church.  Unfortunately, most church activities seem to forget that most ministry happens outside the walls of the church.  Most ministry should be on behalf of the lost.  Not all, but far more that is practiced in most churches today.  Professional church leadership identifies what people within their church need - resources, partnerships, knowledge - to live the Gospel within their domain.  Intentional Kingdom engagement of their domain by ordinary Believers is the only way things in this world are going to change.

The Church equips Believers to find Persons of Peace, start small groups, and plant churches within their Domain.

Church leaders need to sit down and talk with people in their church from each domain.  They need to ask a lot of questions to learn about each domain.  They also need to ask questions that help Believers identify and verbalize felt needs within their domain.  Church leadership should facilitate discussions within these domains to help people figure out ways to meet these needs.  Church leaders should equip church members to find Persons of Peace as they meet felt needs within their domain.  Ultimately, every church member should be able to start Discovery Bible Studies  with Persons of Peace within their domain.  These groups may become part of the church, or they may become churches.  Either way, it doesn’t matter because God is glorified.  (In other words, stop worrying about building your church and start building the Kingdom!) 

Churches should engage every domain of society.

 The Gospel should permeate society.  The only way that is going to happen is if the church mobilizes normal (not clergy!) people into their domains and equips them to reach those domains.  (I think I said that already, but it was worth repeating!)

 Make your own Domains of Society chart.  Fill in the names of people within your church on each domain.  Look at which ones you have represented in your church and which ones you don’t.  Also, take the ministries in your church and put them next to the domain they serve.  Where are the holes?  What do you need to do to fill those holes?

Professional clergy are the worst people to figure out the needs of any particular Domain.

You can’t figure out how to reach domains for the people in those domains.  Most clergy do not have enough experience in the world outside of church leadership to identify the felt needs of any domain of society.  Even if you could, you wouldn’t be able to repeat the process for every domain without actually talking to Believers within that domain.

Please get this - Ministry is not the sole purview of highly trained clergy.  We can never train enough or pay enough professional ministers to reach every person in the world with the Gospel!

If you aren’t working with members of your church to reach their domains, rather than get them working for you, you will have limited impact for the Kingdom in your city.

So what does this mean for ministry online and online church planting?

 Because I’m aware of the Domains of Society, here are the questions I ask myself regularly as I engage the online generation:

  • Do we really need another blog about Christian culture?  Why not blog about the domain you live and work in?  Why not provide something of great worth to others in that domain?  Why not show how you are a Christian within that domain rather than talking endlessly about what you believe - start showing rather than telling?
  • What do you need to do to identify communities within each of these domains?  How will you access them?  Do you know Christians in these domains who can engage those communities?  How can you equip and resource them?
  • What partnerships do you need to set up to minister within each of these domains?  What is the goal of these partnerships?  How will you extend God’s Kingdom within that domain?
  • What people need to be at the table to discuss any particular domain?
  • What questions, regarding domains and online engagement, am I not asking?  What questions do I need to ask to understand application better?
  • Where does God want me and my team to engage next?
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2 Responses to “Understanding Domains of Society and How They Affect Online Church Planting”

  1. Bobby V
    February 13th, 2009 @ 11:47 am

    “Do we really need another blog about Christian culture? Why not blog about the domain you live and work in? Why not provide something of great worth to others in that domain? Why not show how you are a Christian within that domain rather than talking endlessly about what you believe - start showing rather than telling?”

    Thank you for saying that! No, we do not need another “Christian” blog! And doing a site for your vocation/passion/hobby for the purpose of the Kingdom is crucial (and currently not as widespread as it should be!)

  2. pastor kimaru
    April 17th, 2009 @ 1:09 am

    have benefitted alot. Reaching the professionals still remain untouched task. The leadership role in training the members to reach this domain remains the only way out. But is the leadership trained to train others.

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