Access is about entry into a community to whom we are strangers. Appropriate access is about entering this new community without adding additional barriers to being a stranger. Most church planters enter a new community and announce they are religious workers, pastors, church planters, evangelists, and etc. In most, if not all situations, this immediately adds tremendous barriers which limit or kill the opportunity to find the Person of Peace who will open the community to the Gospel Message.
The best access is through the introduction of member of the community you want to reach. This can be a workmate, friend, family, or almost anyone with whom you have a close relationship and who also has a good reputation within the community. A community member with a bad reputation is not going to assist in becoming an acceptable outsider in most communities. The higher the status of the person, the more likely the community will accept the outsider.
When there is no one to introduce church planters to the community, then the church planters have to find ways that allow them acceptable access. These access methods are as numerous as one imagination. We have had church planters enter villages with a soccer ball and start a pickup game. Others have been itinerate salespersons of goods the area needs. Some have taken employment or worked on farms for their food. Meeting felt needs of education, medical care, safe water, and agricultural training have also been successful points of access. Business that improves the economy of the area has been used successfully in many areas. The list is really almost limitless, and often these access opportunities require little or no financial investment.
The point of access is to meet people, demonstrate a spiritual life that draws the Person of Peace, and do so in such a way that no one is put off. The precursors of all this activity are prayer and planning. The results of good access are relationships, friendships, discovery of the Person of Peace, and transitioning to the Discovery Bible Study with a group related to the Person of Peace.
In the next blog entry we will look at how to identify a Person of Peace, or create a Person of Peace; and the characteristics of a Person of Peace.