The Gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else. God never intended for your salvation to be an end, but a beginning. God saved you to be a conduit through whom his glorious, life-changing gospel would flow to others. You are a link in the chain…
Robby Gallaty in Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples
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).
When normal isn’t working, doing something weird may be necessary. Today, our church is defying normal in several ways.
Instead of doing the normal Sunday morning routine – dressing up, singing, telling everybody we’re fine, etc. – we’ll be out serving neighbors who have normal’s that are not working for them. We call it Faith in Action Sunday.
Like a 97 year old Madisonville resident. Normal for her has meant since Hurricane Isaac she’s lived with a gutted house, no doors, no insulation, and no help or resources to get these things fixed.
Like a family of four with disabilities in Madisonville, who’s normal has become holes in the floor and a lot of unsafe conditions in their home.
Like several elderly widows on fixed incomes around Madisonville. Normal means having no man around to take care of little things, so they become big things. And now they’re facing fines from local government until they are repaired.
Like inmates and their families at our local jail. Normal is wondering about what happens when they get out, will family forgive them, does God care, does anyone care.
So, let’s be weird. Let’s create some new normals. For these individuals and for how our community thinks about Christians. That’s what the Gospel is all about isn’t it? I think when Jesus (who people identified as weird) announced, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” Matthew 4:17, He was saying, “There’s a new normal coming to earth.” When He prayed, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10, He had a new normal in mind. When he taught, healed, had compassion on the crowds (Matthew 9:35-36) He was displaying what the new normal should look like for every Christian. And He ask us to pray for more weird people, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:38.
And let’s face it, normal Christianity is not working for many in our world. And many times, Biblical Christianity seems weird to us, because we’ve created a normal that depends upon our disobedience. Because to obey would be weird.
- Normal Christianity sets out to serve instead of be served (Matthew 20:28).
- Normal Christianity sets out to take care of widows and orphans in distress (James 1:27).
- Normal Christianity puts others ahead of self, to a fault and no matter what (Philippians 2:3-8).
- Normal Christianity means sharing the Gospel, not just hearing it on Sunday (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Normal Christianity means churches SEND, not just sit (Romans 10:14-15).
How does your community need you to be weird? Who in your community has a normal that’s unacceptable? Have you allowed normal to be about what other people think instead of what God says and people need? What would people in the community say if you asked them what the normal member of your church looked like?