There are different styles of outreach. Standing on a corner declaring the Kingdom of God through a megaphone, visiting your neighbor with the Good news of the Kingdom and praying for a stranger at Wal-Mart. All of these are styles and methods of outreach.
The outreach that I am most excited about is what I think of as the “lifestyle of outreach”. That’s the lifestyle of living your daily life, always ready to bring God’s Kingdom close to someone who needs it.
Outreach typically happens in one of two ways:
- People in a body of believers make a conscious decision to do outreach under the prompting of Mark 6 or Matthew 28. “We’re going to go make disciples for the Kingdom today, no matter what” they say. Doors are knocked on and tracts are handed out. The Holy Spirit shows up and those who receive the message are ministered to.
- Another way outreach happens is when the church teaches people to live every day releasing the love of God into their communities and workplaces whenever and wherever it’s needed. And it is needed.
Close Encounters with Outreach
As a young boy I remember a church pastor coming to our house after we had moved into a new neighborhood. He was invited into the kitchen and served coffee. He asked about our family and we talked about church. As he welcomed us to the community he also extended an invitation to attend his church. He was an older, gray-haired man with a black suit and white collar. I remember being a bit intimidated while he was there. I also remember being in his church at Christmas, sitting very still and quiet during the service. I don’t remember going back.
While in my senior year of high school, I remember one Friday night when a friend took me to another kid’s house. There were a group of teens were hanging out in the basement. They were playing guitars, singing together and praying for each other. I didn’t recognize any of the songs but I do remember a feeling of peace and calm coming over me. I left and don’t remember being invited back.
As a young adult, living with my wife in Killeen, Texas I remember answering the door of our one-bedroom apartment. Standing there were two young men in crisp white shirts. They wanted to tell me about Jesus. They came in and talked about a guy named Joseph Smith. An hour or so later, my wife and I were sitting alone in the living room feeling confused, exhausted and a little bit slimed. I remember trying to forget that encounter.
Years later my wife and I met a man with a dew-rag, piercings and tattoos. We were interviewing potential guitar instructors for our son. While he introduced himself and spoke about his methods of teaching, I began to sense a peace in the small rehearsal room. When I asked him if this was all he did for a living, he said he was also the worship leader at the Summit Church in Wylie. I thought to myself, this guy goes to church? I told him what a coincidence it was because my wife and I were just talking the other night about needing to find a church. He simply said, “You should come by one Sunday and check it out.” I remember that we went. Four years later, we still go to the Summit Church.
Outreach changes lives
While the methods and results were all different, outreach happened in each of these encounters. Some outreach changes lives and some outreach plants the seed for future encounters.
The guitar instructor was just living his life. He was doing his job and talking about guitar lessons. Without any effort on his part, the Spirit of God was released in the room. It was released because the man brought it with him. He lived his whole life with the Spirit of God in him. My family came near to it when we needed it and our lives were dramatically changed.
Summit Outreach – Demonstrating God’s Love
The Summit Church loves outreach. We are encouragers in our neighborhood’s, declaring the Kingdom of God by demonstrating His love for His people. We are in the community, passing out candy at the annual Halloween event. You will see us painting faces and making balloon animals at the rodeo. You will also find us at the local Target praying for God to heal someone, and at a restaurant releasing the Kingdom to a waitress who needs to know that God loves her.
good article, Hutch – the examples you give are relatable and real. I know we’ll be hearing more from you soon 🙂
Yes….working on it right now.