We all get comfortable within our own church family. We know the familiar faces and can count on them for stocking the food pantry, serving in children’s ministry, sitting on the third pew to the left, having a bigger van to transport youth on Wednesday nights, etc. We are creatures of habit and while there is a comforting feeling of structure and even security in our habits, they can also, and unfortunately, be deterrents to our outreach. The reality is this: outreach should lead to church growth and we can only grow the church if we are obedient to what we’ve been called to do according to Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Let’s breakdown what the flow of obedience looks like:
- The first step to obedience for those who have received Christ is baptism. We are literally dying to our old self and putting on a new self.
- Next, our obedience is fueled by our devotion and love for God, so we meditate on His character, study His attributes, reflect on the glory of His works, and celebrate the gifts of His salvation.
- When we start to love God for who He is, we’ll obey Him.
How can your church best live out this obedience and connect with her community through outreach? We’ve talked about the importance of reflecting evangelism and how our genuine love for the community around us (our immediate mission field) produces an action (outreach) with a message (evangelism). Most ideas come to fruition through conversation – so let’s be obedient, take the first step and be thoughtful in our communication. How we plan the outreach from the type to the volunteers to the actual day and the follow up all starts with a meeting and our collective words to make it happen. Communication is just as much about speaking as it is listening. You want to have relevant and meaningful conversations. Then, with that same fervency, we’ll connect, communicate with and nurture those we set out to reach in the upcoming cooler fall days, weeks, months and years. It starts with communication to build a relationship that will, in turn, require more communication and nurturing because that’s how it should be: continual. All of this falls into place step by step because we choose obedience.
Take heart, the early church didn’t have technology or social media, but they still increased their numbers daily by word of mouth. Their only forms of communication worked for them because they were obedient to act upon their calling. And to quote President Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It kind of makes you want to give a resolute “yes sir” response, am I right? And my goodness, aren’t we blessed to be able to share the Good News via so many awesome tools? We can really reach them with helpful and expert ministry resources, like Gearing Up For Fall Outreach, demographics, statistics, email lists, Facebook, smart phones, and the list continues to grow. The heart of outreach is communication which is initiated by thought, then word of mouth and/or written hand and then translated/uploaded into these tool mediums.
If you’re a fan you know that even Disney does a great job of communication and connection- and if you’re not a fan or have yet to visit the Magic Kingdom for yourself – hang tight and hear me out. If you’ve ever been, you’ve received several emails leading up to your visit. It’s not just limited to beforehand. After your stay I’m sure you received a few more emails, asking about your experience, and thanking you for coming. Let’s be obedient and put that same type of intentional proactivity into place as part of our outreach plans this fall. People are happy to be reminded about something with a purpose or of a brilliant time spent and to know, at the very least, that they were thought of enough to be reached out to.
People want to be remembered, pursued and in communion with each other. Let’s foster that and point them to Jesus. We can do this in a number of ways to build the Kingdom, but the important thing is that we decide to step forward in obedience and just do it.
As the Vice President of Marketing for ACS Technologies’, John is responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. Storyteller, promoter, problem solver to churches of all sizes and shapes. John has traveled the world working with prominent non-profit ministries. He also serves on the board of directors for Dayspring International.
This blog references the new helpful Ministry Resource on proven best practices in Gearing Up For Fall Outreach which is part 3 of this 4 part Gearing Up for Fall Ministry guide series. It is available now to you for free as an easy download to read and share. And, to make it even easier and so you don’t miss any of our Church Growth Resources, you can also receive our ministry blog posts straight to your inbox!