Pastor Aaron Jayne of The Dream Center in Los Angeles, the church that made ‘Adopt-A-Block’ famous, tells how to keep an Adopt-A-Block going long-term
Why Does Adopt-a-Block Work?
Adopt-a-Block in Los Angeles has grown so much that we often find that people can lose sight of why it is effective. In this article we will focus on a few of the basics of the program that will help make any Adopt-a-Block a success.
The number one reason why this program is so successful is simply its consistency. Every week there are many faithful people who go out into the streets and visit the same people. This consistency builds us a credibility that no outreach or Bible study ever will. Over a number of weeks, months, or even years, your team will build relationships with the people on their blocks. This is the most effective form of evangelism because most people will never come to your church on their own. The great thing about Adopt-a-Block is that it is completely based on relationships. When you build relationships with the people you encounter on a consistent basis, they are much more likely to come to church. When they connect with you and trust you, they will be open to your invitation.
Try to think of it from the perspective of someone who is not a part of your church. If they come to church for the first time and walk into a building filled with people who consider the person next to them part of their church family, they will often feel uneasy and unnoticed. However, if they come with someone they know and who sits with them through the service, they will feel much more comfortable. They are no longer walking into a building full of strangers, but they are with a friend.
The first hurdle we have to cross is how to become a trusted friend. Here are five steps that every block leader can follow to build trust with everyone on their block.
Five Keys to Gaining Trust
- Become Known
If you start a block with a plan and vision, within a matter of weeks, both your block leader and your church will be known by most everyone on your block. This is what it is really all about, having the people on your block know that there is a church that really wants to take care of their needs, build friendships with them, and help them with anything they can. You are guaranteed to succeed if you follow this simple step. You will not only be known to your block but to your entire community as well.
This is a simple but effective way to become trusted. Be faithful to your people. You are their pastor. If you don’t visit them when you say you will, then you will instantly lose their trust. Do what you say you will do. If you invite someone to church and promise to drive them there, be on time to pick them up. Remember to be faithful in everything you say. If you become a faithful person to the people on your block, you will not only win the trust of your people but will also win their friendship and love. God honors faithfulness.
- Celebrate With Your Block
Celebrate with your people. When someone has a birthday, make sure you bring him or her a birthday present. On Mother’s day weekend, make sure you deliver a flower or a special card to every mother on your block. Be on the look out for any kids who may have a medical condition, and make sure that they don’t get left out from any of the activities that you might have. Be sure to minister to the kids on your block. If you win the hearts of the kids, you will automatically win the hearts of their parents.
- Connect With Your Block
A simple conversation can build a connection with someone on your block that will open doors for you to share Christ. Therefore, always listen to what your people have to say. Make sure that when you speak with someone from your block, you are listening to what they have to say. Many times people just need someone to listen to them. Understanding is a big step in building relationships. If the people in your block don’t feel that you understand them, it will be hard for them to open up to you. Empathy, listening, and understanding will get you far on your block.
- Be an Encourager
Make sure you always build people up on your blocks. If you are always smiling and bragging on people, you will gain their love, respect, and trust. It is hard to be sad around someone who is happy. It is hard to stay discouraged around someone who is consistently encouraging. Make sure that you are an encouragement to your block. You never know what your positive words can do. There’s power in a positive attitude. If the people on your block see that you smile and are always happy, they will want to have what you have. This will always point people to Christ.
If you follow these five simple steps, you will see a lot of growth in your relationships with the people on your block, thus allowing you to share the gospel.