About Outreach

I think about Outreach… a lot. (I wish I did more of it.) We do outreach in America arranged around church flags. Each project or event has a banner planted in the middle, calling out the affiliation (and sometimes, the location, service times, and maybe even the PayPal connection.) We arrange a place and time for a project, and then claim turf over that area for a few hours. Sometimes, we then leave it, never to return… and we take our flag with us.

Evangelism is all about believers in Jesus making Him known so that those who need Him hear His heart, see His hands, believe His Message, and give Him worship. We want, we groan and long for, salvation and healing to come to those apart from Christ. But it’s not about populating one church or another (though I believe this comes with the healing.) It’s about populating His kingdom.

So, it follows that evangelism can happen best through relationships, serving, sharing life, and giving away the Message. What if, when we plan to reach out, we looked for ways we can do all this without the flags? Maybe we can find places, organizations, activities, events, and groups that are already in place. Then, we can serve, do life, and give away the Message in a context that is already ongoing and in place. Who we are, how we love, and what we say can declare Jesus, right there.

Outreach moves beyond the marque in the church lot, past the banner set up in the middle of the two-hour incursion, and into the space where people already do life, serve, and share what’s important. And they honestly and really need help. (I can’t think of a non-profit service group or event like the Special Olympics or the local Helping Hands that would turn away a volunteer who genuinely wanted to serve.)

It’s very important to get the word out about our church and how someone is supposed to connect to us.

But it’s mandatory that we get the word out about The Word. And a lot of the people who need to know Him are hanging out right around us, already seeking Him and a trying to find ways to make a difference in our community.

It’s important to spotlight who we are on our marque, too. (I live near “restaurant row” in a resort area — I’m still waiting to see a church marque that says “Now serving!” or “Special today! Forgiveness, wholeness, purpose, and relationships you can trust!”)

But it’s essential that we spotlight the Savior, His glory and mercy!

This week, Susan and I have taken the first steps in our new town to join the “Carolina Italian American Organization” — yes, that would spell out as CIAO. We met a couple of families at a beach music concert and festival a few weeks ago. The group is non-profit and they serve military personnel who return from Iraq and Afghanistan to our area and they work with other charities in the Carolinas. And I hear they throw a pretty good Christmas dance.

So, pray for us as we seek to build relationships, serve faithfully, do life with others, and give away the Message. Maybe CIAO can help us find ways to live an outreach life.

Walking it Out in Faith,
Ciao!

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