I am often asked, “How long should a church planting team remain with an unreceptive people group before moving to another group or location?” There is no easy answer to this question–no universal response.
People are not robots. Though all are dead in sin and trespasses, not everyone responds to the gospel with the same action and attitude. We only need to look at the New Testament to see this truth.
We know Jesus, His disciples, and Paul, at times, “shook off the dust” and moved on to others (e.g., Acts 18:6). We know Paul preferred to preach to receptive peoples. And I hope, we also desire such audiences.
How to Deal With Unreceptive People
1. Your Call
Teams should examine their call to the people/location. Do they believe they should remain? If so, remain.
2. The Holy Spirit
Teams should ask what they sense the Spirit is doing among this people, in this place, at this time. Maybe the team needs to remain and continue to pray and sow (1 Cor 3:6). Maybe part of what is to come is based on the team living out the Kingdom among an apathetic people.