Greeks and Barbarians

A modern marketing technique is to target the sort of people that your church wants to reach. The young, upper middle class is a common group, for instance. Hardly hear of anyone targeting the feeble and decrepit, however (unless they’re the moneyed sort)!

Is this targeting a biblical strategy?

Consider Paul’s words,

I am a debtor both to Greeks and Barbarians, to the educated and to the ignorant.
                                                                           Romans 1:14

Sounds like if you asked him to do so, he’d go on to mention just about every other sort of person. And, as we shall see, that’s just what he did. Can’t see the apostle targeting a certain group—can you?

In his congregations there were all types. People, for instance, who had qualifications for elders or deacons. Those who did not. The wealthy, and those who couldn’t afford lunch for the Love Feast.
James, also, was very careful not to make distinctions between the wealthy and the poor—both of which he served without respect of persons.

When you read Paul’s use of the word “barbarians,” don’t think of people like Atilla the Hun (though I believe Paul would have taken him on). The words “Greeks and Barbarians” in the Mediterranean culture of the day meant “everyone.” The word barbarian was used to describe everyone who wasn’t Greek or Roman. It comes from the sound that the Greeks used to describe what foreign languages sounded like: “bar bar bar.”

So, if you want to follow Paul’s strategy for evangelism and building churches, then you’ll target both the Greeks and the Barbarians in your community! Sound like the right kind of targeting?

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