When I say “Church outreach” do you think of bouncy houses and a special key-note speaker? Maybe you think of door hangers inviting people to a special meeting where someone special was going to preach the gospel. What is your responsibility at that Church outreach? Maybe they need you to air up balloons or hand out cake. Oh, and don’t forget to invite the people you know to hear the special speaker. The speaker, after-all, is a pretty impressive person. They climbed Everest, or started a fortune 500 company, or learned to live without arms or legs... needless to say, they are far more interesting than you are, so unlike you, your friends will probably listen and get saved.
Be sure to take lots of pictures! The Church Facebook page will need some epic shots of unsaved neighbor kids having a blast and having a shaving cream fight with the youth pastor. If you are the designated picture taker, make sure everyone gets in the mix please! Nothing is more frustrating than wasting an entire Saturday without getting credit for it. It is, after all, a church outreach.
But what if that isn’t what Jesus had in mind when it came to Church outreach? As a matter of fact, if the Apostles saw our version of outreach I don’t think they would know whether to laugh or cry. Read this:
“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking to no one except the Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists and also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.”
- Acts 11:19-22(ESV)
Antioch was like the Las Vegas of the Roman world so it was avoided by the Jews for its immoral culture. Yet men who knew the culture did some church outreach anyway. They spoke like Greeks, they dressed like Greeks, and they ate like Greeks. They didn’t stick out for any reason except one: they preached the Lord Jesus. They didn’t need to be impressive. The message they had was impressive enough and the Spirit of God rushed through that City, so many people were getting saved that Barnabas needed the Apostle Paul to help him train that Church up for a solid year.
Isn’t that interesting? They didn’t send the big shots until after all the “normal people” got done winning their friends and neighbors to Jesus! The members of the Antioch Church were so much different than the rest of the City that they got a nick-name. The people in that Church were so busy acting like Jesus, talking like Jesus and preaching like Jesus that the rest of the City called them “Christians”. Yep, that name comes from that kind of Church-outreach.
Imagine if that’s how every Church in America did outreach? Imagine if that’s how you did it? Every able-bodied man, woman and child trained for the kingdom making it their aim in life to share the good news of salvation with everyone they knew! Wow, a Church like that might just get a nickname.