What is a cloud?
We are all familiar with clouds that are comprised of millions of vapor particles formed into a variety of shapes and sizes. Some provide beauty while others promise a weather change that can be menacing. If you have observed weather for an extended period of time, you may even be able to predict the weather in your future. My grandfather, born in 1871, did not need a weatherman to predict the weather, he simply read the clouds. I must admit, he was accurate in most of his predictions.
There’s a New Cloud in Town
In the 21st century, we have become acquainted with other types of clouds. The term is used to define a collection of any number of things. Computer users discover and enjoy the benefits of the cloud that stores data and documents for quick and easy access. If you regularly use a computer, you know what it is like to live in the clouds.
In his book Future Church, Will Mancini addresses the concept of the “crowd cloud” that is present in every church. This cloud is made up of a church’s collective social network and is the most fertile field for planting the seeds of the gospel. Other terms used to define this crowd in evangelical circles are oikos, SOI (sphere of influence), or constellation. Your cloud crowd may look something like this:
When we do the math, we come to a greater understanding of the evangelical potential of a church through its collective cloud. For instance, if a church has a membership of 100 people, and each member has a cloud crowd of 20 people who are not believers, the total crowd cloud for that church is 2,000 people.1 Most every church has considerable evangelistic potential when their membership connects with people far from God.
Connecting with Your People Cloud
If a believer is serious about connecting with their cloud in order to share the gospel, a strategy is paramount. Here is a simple plan for cloud engagement:
- Decide to live on mission and begin that journey by targeting your cloud.
- Identify your cloud by listing the people in your social network (oikos, SOI, constellation). See the cloud graphic to help you identify your cloud.
- Pray for your cloud. Set specific times to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to draw them to Christ as you intentionally and cleverly connect with them.
- Share the gospel with them. They cannot believe unless they hear (Romans 10:14-15).
- Disciple those who follow Christ. One-to-one discipleship goes a long way toward making disciples who make disciples.
We Can Help!
If you would like to learn a biblical, simple, reproducible, and economical way to share the gospel with others, register for an upcoming Gospel Conversations Training.
1For a more detailed treatment of the crowd cloud concept, see Future Church by Will Mancini, Pages 121-122.