Evangelism In-reach, Evangelism Outreach!
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21 NLT)
During the month of April, we focused on “Evangelism.” My sermons and those of our guest preachers encouraged you to share your faith both verbally and by the way you conduct yourself and live your life. I asked you to pray that God would allow Cambridge and its people to be a light in the community where those, who don’t know the love of Christ, would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I even invited our former Pastor of Evangelism and Outreach to ‘Come Home to Cambridge’ to reprise a mini-series Wednesday nights on sharing your faith, titled Just Walk Across the Room. The key take-away from JWATR being that it’s easier to share our faith with someone whom we’ve already built a personal relationship.
This past week, during our staff meeting, I suggested that we continue this emphasis on sharing our faith, making May’s emphasis ‘Outreach.’ This prompted a dialogue about the difference between ‘Outreach and Evangelism.’ Not surprising there was a slight difference of opinion, however all opinions involved both the sharing of the Gospel (John 3:16 in the simplest form), and ‘going’ forth to do so (best summarized by Jesus in The Great Commission – Matthew 28: 16 – 20). Christian blogger and contributing writer for Outreach Magazine, Tim Challies says, “Unlike evangel, the term outreach is not found in the Bible, though the idea certainly is. Outreach implies action more than message.” In a way, our emphasis on evangelism in April has been primarily ‘In-reach.’ In other words, we have been reaching inward to our church family to encourage, admonish and instruct how to share our faith. In May, I’d like for us to truly embrace the concept of ‘Outreach,’ i.e. “action more than message,” or better yet ‘action that will lead to message.’ Sometimes as we’re learning, outreach begins with little more than ‘just walking across the room,’ including the classroom, boardroom, and often our (and/or our neighbor’s) living room.
The month of May is filled with many opportunities to build relationships. Here are a few suggestions;
May 8 is Mother’s Day and the busiest restaurant day of the year. If you’re a mother or grandmother, (or even the one footing the bill), invite your entire family to worship before going out to eat. I know a mom who told her child the only present she wanted was for him to take her to church. Wow! Also take advantage of this time to build relationships with waiters and waitresses. Many of them will be under a lot of stress during this very busy restaurant day. Something as simple as being kind and letting them know you can tell they have a lot on them right now can start to open their hearts to the Gospel. Ask how you can pray for them, and then, make sure you pray for them (if not right then, soon). Make sure you leave them a good tip. Christians have one of the worst reputations for tipping in the restaurant industry and we need to change that perception.
Memorial Day weekend is often a time when family and friends gather together to kick off the start of summer. Cookouts, pool parties, fun-n-games (Corn Hole for my family) and other activities make for a great long weekend. Why not be ‘intentional’ about praying for someone or some group the Holy Spirit is prompting you to ‘reach out to,’ and then respond to the Spirit’s prompting.
Business and social gatherings including weddings, children’s sports, and other activities are all great venues for effective outreach and building relationships that will prayerfully lead others to Jesus.
In Him alone,
Cambridge Baptist Church