By the time the new North Hills Baptist Church opens Sunday , Pastor Jeremy Van Delinder will have enlisted dozens of volunteers and founding coaches from his former church in Florida to help get the word out.
Like most church starters , he has knocked on strangers’ doors, sent emails and set up a website for the church in recent months. But he has also had volunteers run an old-fashioned phone bank, making about 23,000 calls to try to recruit members to the Round Rock church.
Church planting has changed as technology has improved and churches have sought to market themselves across generational lines, local church leaders say.
In an increasingly electronically connected culture, church planters have access to more targeted information about demographics and population statistics than ever before. For some church planters, that means behaving more like social marketers and entrepreneurs than pastors who are hoping to spread the gospel organically, local pastors say.
Van Delinder said he chose Round Rock for his new church after visiting the area in 2007 and 2008 and looking at demographic studies showing that there wasn’t a large evangelical presence in Austin’s five-county metro area. Pastors in the area also told him of the need for an evangelical church in Round Rock.
“Studies show the best way to communicate with a community is to plant a new church,” he said.