Are you frustrated with outreach?

27 Sep

I am VERY frustrated about the topic of outreach. 

Each week at Faith Church we have two sermon discussions groups.  One 10 days before the sermon, with the goal of preparing, and one immediately after the sermon, with the goal of answering questions and making application.

The first one is called sermon roundtable, and I have my seminary professor to thank because it started from a class assignment.  I am deeply grateful for the people who come to sermon roundtable because I always leave with 3-4 pages of notes.  When Monday morning rolls around, the last thing I want to do emotionally is to start studying for another sermon.  Especially when the page on my laptop is blank.  So the roundtable notes are a great motivator, and because they come from a variety of voices, they always enriches my preparation.

Well…almost always.  Last week I came out of sermon roundtable very frustrated.  We were discussing the last sermon in our four part series on the mission of the church, and the topic is outreach.  It goes by many names including, evangelism, witnessing, and sharing our faith.  It sounds straightforward enough, but people have a lot of different ideas about how a church should do outreach.  Don’t get me wrong, people had a lot of great thoughts at roundtable, and I took a bunch of notes.  But there was definitely confusion and disagreement. Times have changed.  What was acceptable 50 years ago might be offensive now.

So let’s hear from you.  Are you frustrated about outreach?  How do you think a church should reach out to its community?  Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

3 Responses to “Are you frustrated with outreach?”

  1. Lisa B September 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m reading a great book right now called “Saving Casper.” It’s a conversation between a Christian and an athiest about evangelism and conversioin. It’s a sequel, of sorts, and I haven’t read the first one, but it’s an interesting relationship. They talk a lot about witnessing and it’s fascinating, and funny sometimes, to see what our evangelistic efforts look like to someone on the outside. At the core, so far, it seems that the point of the conversation is to have conversations with people. To not just give them a “sales pitch” for Christianity or a scare tactic (you’re going to hell!) but to be interested in what other people believe. I could quote you whole chapters from the book because it’s really got me thinking. And I don’t think “evangelism” and “outreach” are necessarily synonymous. I have no answers, but I definitely think we can do better. And that doesn’t mean adding programs or even doing programs. So, yeah. Outreach. 🙂

    • joelkime September 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks Lisa. We need to do a book swap because I have the first one, Jim & Casper Go To Church! In fact, for a couple years we had a Faith Church summer book club (need to start that up again!), and it was one of the books we read. I would love to read the sequel. The idea of conversation really resonates with me.

      • Lisa B September 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        Oh, I’m glad you’re familiar with it! I have it on Kindle, though. And, yes, I’m with you on conversation. (Uh, summer book club sounds AWESOME!)

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