This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Exponential in Orlando Florida and the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

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Launching a Church With a Strategy to Reach Unchurched People

Here’s my talk outline for Exponential:

I. The Church Planter’s Dilemma

1. Churches for unchurched people start with churched people.

2. Most also end there.

3. Why?

If you behave like a church trying to reach churched people, you will reach churched people.

Everyone who leaves another church to join your church has a picture in their mind of what your church should look like.

The most effective strategies to reach the next generation will likely not come from the previous generation.


7 Strategies to Help Your Church Reach Unchurched People

1. Engage teenagers with your main worship service.

2. Recruit senior leaders who know and like unchurched people.

3. Be non-judgmental toward outsiders.

4. Become comfortable with unresolved questions.

5. Design easy, obvious and strategic steps for people to take (not random programs).

6. Develop an intentional strategy to reach families.

a. Resource your family ministry team.

b. Synchronize your team around a master plan designed to reach families.

c. Refine your message.

d. Elevate community.

e. Partner with parents.

7. Decide you are not going to try to please everyone.

Interested in more?

Here are some posts that can take you deeper:

7 Reasons Churches That Want to Reach Unchurched People Don’t

8 Reasons Most Churches Never Break the 200 Attendance Mark

9 Signs Your Church is Ready to Reach Unchurched People

7 Signs Your Church is Making Inroads with Unchurched People

And some resources that can help you:

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Got any questions? If so, fire away in the comments section!


  1. Sean Chandler on May 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    What are you suggestions for engaging teenagers with the main worship service?

  2. Charlie Lyons on April 30, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Carey, great post. As you requested, I have a question. Is your teaching in the “main” service synchronized with what’s being taught/discussed/studied in small groups, youth, and children’s ministry? Do you suggest this? If so, how would one implement such a plan?

    Okay, so that’s 3 questions. 🙂

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 30, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Hi Charlie,

      Great question. We don’t do that as a rule. Reason being: different age groups need to hear different things in different seasons. So our kids and student min material is all related to each other (in the same way the alphabet in kindergarten is useful for Grade 12 English), but we don’t synchronize topics because of the age difference. Strategy is 100% synchronized across the whole church, but not in terms of synonymous topics.

      *Carey Nieuwhof, Lead Pastor *
      *Connexus Church*
      *546 Bryne Drive, Unit E Barrie Ontario L4N 9P6* * * * *
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      • Charlie Lyons on April 30, 2014 at 8:05 am

        Thanks, Carey. Agreed on “different things in different seasons,” definitely.

        One more question, if that’s okay… what about small groups/community groups’ study/discussion synchronized with Sunday sermons?

        • Carey Nieuwhof on May 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

          Love the idea. We encourage all adult groups to do that. It deepens what happens on Sunday and provides a common dialogue for the church. It makes sense to me.

          • Charlie Lyons on May 3, 2014 at 7:51 am

            And I assume you write discussion starter questions as part of your role as main preacher that are passed along to small group leaders ahead of time?

          • Carey Nieuwhof on May 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

            That’s right. The entire series is done and group questions written before it launches. — Sent from Mailbox

          • Charlie Lyons on May 13, 2014 at 7:56 am

            Carey, thanks so much for your time and replies here. Many blessings, brother!

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