Sunday, September 23, 2007

Reaching Out Together

Oftentimes, evangelism seems like a daunting task to us because we don't conceive of it properly. Somehow, many of us have picked up the idea that we each have the individual responsibility to befriend unbelievers, explain to them the gospel message, answer any and all questions they might have, break down all walls of resistance, pray with them to receive Christ as their personal savior, and get them plugged into some kind of discipleship process. Is it any wonder that we acknowledge the importance of evangelism ("Yes, *nod, nod* I definitely think someone ought to do evangelism; I'm all for it!"), but when it comes to actually reaching out ourselves... well, that seems a little overwhelming.

The truth is we reach out better together! There are many aspects to evangelism because everyone comes to Christ differently. Some people have intellectual objections to believing in God. Others have had negative experiences with church people in the past. Still others are just kind of oblivious and haven't really considered their spirituality. And there are many, many other kinds of unbelievers. They each need something slightly different in order to believe. When we work together, we can each concentrate on what each of us is best at.

In addition, people often come to Christ in stages. Sometimes, a person will have a lot of different issues that they need to work through before they're ready to enter into a personal relationship with God. Paul talks about reaching out together in 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow."

So when you're involved in leading someone to Christ, very often, there has been a lot of work that God has already done in their life through other people. You're already only one person on a big team, so why not get more people involved and make the team even bigger?

Here are some specific ways that we can reach out together:

  • Have your small group pray for people whom you are trying to reach for Christ
  • When your small group does its service project, make sure that the people you serve realize that this love is coming to them in the name of Jesus Christ and Pathway Community Church.
  • Invite your unsaved friends to church activities (like Trunk or Treat!) so that they can develop relationships with others in the church--they're more likely to come to a church where they know several people instead of just you
  • Plan parties (scrapbooking, girls' nights, guys' nights, Super Bowl, poker night, 4th of July--anything!) and invite church people and unchurched people
  • Refer unchurched friends to Christians for their various needs--auto mechanics, contractors, lawyers, counselors, plumbers, landscapers, etc.--especially if you know these people personally
  • Find a way to serve when the church has outreach ministries going on, and see if there's anyone you can encourage to join you--even someone who doesn't attend worship!

This weekend, Tanya and I are putting a new roof on our house, and many in the church are coming over to help us. I'm going to invite several of the guys from Olive Garden who aren't working that day to join us. You can be praying along with me that they'll say yes!

This is the reason your small group is doing a service project during the 40 Days of Community--because we reach out better together! Be creative! Ask God to show you how you can team up with other Christians to win your unchurched friends to Christ... because we reach out better together!

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