Outreach Evangelism

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The "Outreach" approach to evangelism and inviting people to church has become a fast-growing phenomenon in recent years. In light of that fact it has also come under heavy criticism with such accusations as “they are compromising the Great Commission to please people" or, "they water down the message just so they can grow large church’s", etc. It has also been said that becoming Outreach oriented will cause the church to ignore the Bible, address only "safe" subjects, and use "gimmicks" to draw a crowd. Not too long ago the Barna Research Group did take a survey of churches representing a wide variety of denominations. The church members were asked what they felt the purpose of the Church was. • 89% responded that the Church was there to meet their own needs. • 11% responded that the purpose of the Church was to win people to Jesus. The pastors were asked the same questions and in complete contrast • 91% responded that the main purpose of the church was to win people to Jesus with only • 9% responding that it was to meet members needs. It’s no wonder that churches aren’t growing and pastors are constantly changing churches. Fulfilling The Great Commission The emphasis of the "Great Commission" is to go and “MAKE DISCIPLES". That means leaving the ninetynine and going after the one lost sheep. That is the fundamental purpose of the Church. We are to reach “out” to the world for Jesus by becoming “fishers of men” not “keepers of the aquarium”. You can’t clean the fish until you catch them. The Holy Spirit first speaks to the fish and tells them its time to eat. In order to attract the fish you need a lure that will grab their attention. However, even with a great lure, you can’t catch the fish with a bare hook, you need bait that the fish likes and is attracted to. The bait is what the church has to offer - its programs, style, music, teaching, small groups, etc. Yet, even after catching the fish there is still the problem of keeping the fish in the boat. If the church does not offer specific connection and integration strategies to assimilate the unchurched they will work their way out of the net and back into the water. Additional research by the Barna Group tells us that less than • 25% of those who currently attend church were personally invited to church. Even more frightening is the fact that only • 10% of first time visitors ever return. What does that say about the state of the church? Accomplishing A Biblical Purpose Many churches today are beginning to re-examine everything they do by asking themselves if they are accomplishing a biblical purpose in the way they conduct their ministry. It has been said that a definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." The Great Commission applies to ALL of us. Ultimately, what really matters is reaching out to the lost. The Apostle Paul realized that the Church needed to be Outreach oriented. This is not a new idea. There is nothing wrong with old methods and traditions.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.that we should "not be conformed to the pattern of this
Paul made the statement in

world". He was referring to our commitment to spiritual things, and fundamentally, our way of looking at the world and our part in the Kingdom of God. It is apparent he was talking about mind-set, the attitude of heart, and a willingness to live for God and not the world. In light of 1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is

written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. this was not a statement regarding a personal style of worship. In contrast Paul said "I am all things to all people" 1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. He wasn’t stringent in his approach to ministry, instead his approach was

dictated by his circumstances and the people he was ministering to, {"Always for the sake of the gospel"

1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. not his own preference or style. We must always be careful that our approach to the


Gospel doesn’t get in the way of the core truths it conveys, but at the same time we should try to win them "by all means" (1 Cor 9:22). “If I Be Lifted Up” The average church size in the United States is less than 91 people. Fewer than 12% of all Americans regularly attend a church each week. Some have said that the reason the church isn’t growing is because the Holy Spirit is not moving as in times past. What does that say about our faithfulness to the Great Commission? If Jesus is the same "yesterday, today and forever" Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the growth is that the Holy Spirit is not moving as He once did? Jesus said that when He is "lifted up" He will "draw all men" to Himself. John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all

same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. can it be honestly said that the reason for this lack of men unto me. It is God’s will that "all men" be "saved and come to the knowledge of the truth". 1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

It is the responsibility of the Church to see that Jesus is "lifted up" so that the world might be drawn to Him. If we are to be the manifest presence of God’s love in this world we must reach people by being culturally relevant in style and approach, not alienating them by the ancient traditions of men, while at the same time, maintaining doctrinal purity and holding fast to the absolute truths found in God’s Word. If the Church is to be effective, then it should study the culture of its community as to what could be most effective as a method of ministry and use a variety of available methods to stay in touch with contemporary trends and technologies. We must fulfill the Great Commission as living examples of God’s love. We must offer a style of ministry and the un-compromised word of God in a format that will ATTRACT the lost, by becoming attractive, taking on the fragrance of Jesus so that once the lost experience it they can never forget the aroma of His beauty. 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be
unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. We must fascinate them with the Lord of all creation!

The mistake the Church has made through the centuries is requiring the people to start where the Church is instead of the Church starting where the people are. The question that remains to be answered; “What do we need to do to reach the people where they are?” Questions For The Heart
Future Challenge Without compromising the Bible, is the Church willing to do whatever it take to reach the lost and spiritually dying in whatever manner possible? Is the Church willing to stop talking about what should be done and just start doing it? Is the Church willing to allow the Holy Spirit to empower each member to be like Paul, and become "all things to all men, so that” “by all means save some"? I would submit that if the Church is willing, then it will understand “Outreach Evangelism” ministry and "not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes". Romans 1:16 ¶For I

am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Acts 8:26-8:31 8:26 ¶And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,