the gathering

The M Rhythm: Aware Spaces

Apr 29, 2022

Remember that old Kevin Costner film from the late 80s “Field of Dreams”? Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ve probably heard the famous line… “If you build it, they will come”. Of course, in the film it’s referring to a baseball field and that people will come and pay to watch baseball, and in the end, they do! The cars are lined up coming to the field.

If we’re honest, a lot of church leaders hold the same idea… “if you build it, they will come”. If you start a Sunday gathering people will come and become disciples. Unfortunately, in today’s cultural climate, this is not always the case.

Recently on the blog Doug Foltz wrote on Breaking the Sunday Mold to Build Momentum. Check it out if you haven’t already read it. Building momentum towards starting a new church can be achieved through a simple framework that we, here at Stadia, call the M Rhythm. A rhythm of events that include aware spaces, social spaces and team spaces.

Today, we focus in on Aware Spaces. Aware spaces are outward focused with the goal of building awareness of what you are starting in your community. Rather than building your own thing and hoping people come to you, building awareness requires being sent into the spaces where the people you are called to reach already are. As a project manager I get to work with church planters across the country and hear all the different versions of how new church teams are building awareness in the community of their new churches. Here are a couple of those examples:

Allen Kendrick started Vivid Church in Lexington, South Carolina in the fall of 2020. Allen’s simple, yet effective, awareness strategy was what they called Water Drops, where they would show up at any place that people might be and hand out free bottled water. The only investment they made was in coolers, customized labels and bottled water. They rented a booth at the local farmers market every Saturday from May through August and placed people along a running trail as well. A free bottle of water led to conversations, opportunities to pray for people, and even launch team members. In fact, a couple that is on Vivid’s worship team first heard about the new church through a Water Drop! These Water Drops established a presence in the community for Vivid Church, so much so, that they have continued doing them still to this day. Their first Water Drop of 2022 was just recently where the Vivid team passed out over 2000 bottles of water at a local High School, which led the school to ask Vivid to be involved in their Special Olympics event coming up.

Rut and Simon Padilla started Expansion Church in Queens, New York in the spring of 2021. Their aware space evolved out of meeting the needs of their community in the height of the pandemic. With children being home from school and people being out of work, Expansion Church partnered with the community center to distribute food to keep families in crisis fed. As the need grew so did the support from the state and eventually they were distributing 1 ton of food a week to hundreds of people. Expansion team members were engaging in conversation and relationship with those coming to receive their much needed help.

The possibilities for your aware spaces are endless! Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning the aware space of your M rhythm:

  1. Context is king. Allen, Rut and Simon’s strategies were fit for their communities and the people they were called to reach. They may work for your context or they may not. Always consider your context first and where people are at, what they’re already doing and how you can serve the community.
  2. Consistency is key. Typically it will take multiple interactions for people to begin to engage with the idea of a new church. One time big events are good, but showing up regularly with multiple opportunities to interact with the same (or similar) crowd is better.
  3. Contact information is gold. You may have the opportunity to connect with people and have conversations, but if you don’t get their contact information you have no way of getting in touch with them again or inviting them to the next thing. Getting contact information from an aware space is what helps enable you to guide people from aware spaces to social spaces…more on that coming up next month!

So, don’t be like Kevin Costner and buy into the whisper that “if you build it, they will come”! Follow Jesus’ example in John 20:21 when he says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” You are God’s chosen people and he is sending you out to those he is calling to himself! Go to the people and establish a rhythm of outward focused aware spaces as you start new churches. And tell us, what awareness events have you done in your community? We’d love to learn from your team.

Emily Diaz

Emily Diaz


After years of preparing, planning, and praying, Emily and her husband, Abiel, planted Ciudad de Gracia, a Spanish-speaking Stadia church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in January of 2017. Having first-hand experience of starting churches, Emily’s desire is to partner with church planters to help them be the very best for their community. Her other full-time job is being mom to the very best four kids: Gabriel, Lucas, Liliana and Marco.