Outreach FAQ: “What if we’ve tried that already?”
When it comes to outreach a lot of Christians & churches usually quit too soon. Why? Two reasons:
- We’ve been trained to think that if we don’t “close the deal” & get “decisions” or have a big crowd every time we reach out & share the gospel, then we’ve failed. It was the great evangelist Billy Graham who once said, “it takes 20 people to lead someone to Christ. The first person thinks they had nothing to do with it. The last person thinks it was all him.” You never know if you’re #1 or #20. Be faithful, leave the results to God.
- We don’t account for the need for cultivation. Outreach & Evangelism are like farming. Everything tends to happen in seasons. There’s a season for cultivating the ground, a season for planting seeds, & a season for harvesting. Knowing which season you’re in is the key to success. And in today’s cultural climate with Biblical literacy at all time lows & culture rot firmly entrenched, you must be prepared for hard ground & cultivation wherever you are.
So, if you’re church or group or family is planning an outreach event, use these rules of thumb:
- Pray & ask God to help you imagine what kind of outreach will best reach your target population.
- Plan for at least two events. My answer to people that say: “We’ve already tried that” is usually, if you’ve done it once, that doesn’t count as “tried.” Keep going!
- Make adjustments, don’t quit. You’re plan may need tweaking, but if God has moved you to do something, don’t give up. “We tried that once” will seem like a small, weak excuse when we stand before him responsible for the souls of those around us.
I like the quip, “There’s no such thing as failures, only those that quit too soon.” Cultivate, plant, harvest. Don’t give up. All heaven is behind you! Go! (Matthew 28:18-20).