The New Testament model of church growth had little to do with converting individuals or assimilating members. It was all about reaching micro-cultures for Christ. A micro-culture is a definable, describable demographic or lifestyle segment. The apostles targeted Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, and other cities … and then different neighborhoods, economic and professional groups, and so on. They would learn their favorite foods, appreciate their music, speak their language, and follow their customs and they share the Gospel. In part, this was just good communication. More profoundly, it demonstrated how much they really did love those strangers to grace, because they were willing to put themselves out for their sake. Most significantly of all, it was clearly the strategy that Jesus used. He circulated freely and self-sacrificially among all different kinds of micro-cultures, speaking the word of God that those people in particular needed to here.

The Gospel is not a generalized message of hope. It is specifically aimed to bring a specific kind of grace to a particular public. In most of North America, there are 3-5 large and significant lifestyle segments in any given zip or postal code (USA or Canada). And among those groups there are many constantly evolving affinity groups. Your job is to have a heartburst for one at a time. Design the mission for the Philippians in your zip code; then once you have tailored the Gospel to their yearnings, move on to the Ephesians. Grow the Kingdom one micro-culture at a time.