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Jim Brown has been married to Lisa since 1980. They have three married children--Jason (Melody), Jared (Katie) and Jennifer (Dan).

In 1991, Jim led the church planting team that established Crossroads Community Church in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. With support from the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, MetroGrace was established in 1999; Jim has served as its director since inception. And in 2004, Jim began his pastoral ministry at Crossroads Community Church in the Holmesburg neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Jim holds a B.S. in Bible from Philadelphia Biblical University, an MDiv. from Grace Theological Seminary and a DMin. from Westminster Theological Seminary.   


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Making Contacts: Vary Activities
February 13, 2013

Urban church planters must consider time, place, and type of activities when they want to make contacts. Those interviewed listed a variety of different activities.

Some mentioned visitation. Usually this comes through the recommendation of a friend. Often the person being contacted is struggling. They might require prayer or some sort of physical help.

Other contacts were made by striking up a conversation. One church planter mentioned introducing himself to new folks at the luncheonette. The setting provided an opportunity for some general conversation that could be shifted to brief spiritual discussions. If interest is expressed, further contact can be made. Further, he said that his frequent visits to the luncheonette gave him repeated contact with people. When they find out that he is a pastor, they ask him questions. This provides a good opportunity for discussion with them and, often, others seated at the counter as well.

Asking questions is another important activity. People want someone to be interested in them. They want to share their story. One church planter made it a practice to ask questions about information previously learned. It helps people to know that people of God care about them.

Matthew was more deliberate than the other two in determining the kinds of contacts he was seeking to make. He was focused on developing “key relationships in the community especially at a leadership [level].” Later then, he mentioned contacting “the common people.” These key relationships are sought through formal meetings made by appointment with people like the school principal, the school social worker, or local politicians. Contact with the common people could be made informally by walking the streets or knocking on doors. This dichotomy deserves more study. Urban church planters must be able to contact people at a variety of different levels, but the categorization of people based on their positions of power seems distasteful.

Urban church planters also seek to make contacts through outreach events. These activities can vary. A fair in the park, a day camp on the street, or a vacation Bible school program have all been used by the church planters to reach out to their communities. These events are planned and promoted to offer some service to the community. As they provide that service, urban church planters hope to meet new people to lead to Christ. These events provide a good opportunity for church planters and their growing churches to express their creativity, work together, and demonstrate concern for their neighbors. It gives people a first contact so they can be introduced to Christ and invited to church.

Luke mentioned keeping a contact book. Though he feels like he doesn’t keep up with it well enough, it provides a written record of the people he meets and the conversations they’ve had. It is a helpful tool for prayer and follow-up. He can track the progress of the relationship over time and plan for future conversations. Those preparing to plant an urban church would benefit from learning to use a contact book. This should be simple to use. Church planters already feel overwhelmed with administration and do not need another layer of paper work.


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