Author: Ron Graham
—Some questions answered
There are five steps in the outreach process. After we have introduced the topic of outreach in our first lesson, by answering several questions about it, we will go on in the following lessons to discuss each of the five steps in turn.
In this lesson we consider some questions about "Outreach" and introduce the first step in the outreach process, the "Opening".
1 What is Outreach?
1. Which is the best description of the outreach process? (A) Stealing sheep from other churches, (B) Baptizing people, (C) Holding evangelistic meetings, (D) Boasting about your church, (E) Helping people with their problems, (F) Handing out tracts, (G) Finding and helping those who genuinely seek God’s way
2 When Should Outreach Begin?
2. Suppose a church had its tenth anniversary on Friday 3rd August 1990. When was the right time for that church to begin outreach? (A) Sunday 3rd August 1980, (B) Monday 31st July 1989, (C) Sunday 1st December 1991, (D) Friday 4th June 1993, (E) Thursday 3rd August 2000.
The only right time for a church to begin outreach, is when that church comes into being (in the above case, Sunday 3rd August 1980). There has never been any excuse to delay outreach.
A church should, from the outset, have been "redeeming the time" (Ephesians 5:16). In so far as we may have neglected this, we have neglected to "walk in wisdom towards those who are outsiders, redeeming the time" (Colossians 4:5).
The Bible says, "Behold, now is the day of salvation" (2Corinthians 6:2). Jesus reminds us to work for "the night is coming in which no man can work" (John 9:4).
Of course, even if the church you belong to isn't beginning outreach when it should, that doesn't mean you personally have to wait. As these lessons on "Outreach" will show, it is essentially a personal responsibility and activity.
3 What is the Best Method of Outreach?
3. From the list below, select what you believe to be the best method, in general, for outreach in a church: (A) Distributing leaflets, (B) Newspaper advertising, (C) Holding a mission a month, (D) Hiring a minister to do the work, (E) Personal invitation in day-to-day contacts.
Some of the things listed have a place in our outreach program, and we may use them in special efforts from time to time. But the really effective and day-to-day method of outreach —the one most available to us, and the essential method— is personal evangelism. If we don't do that, we won't do outreach.
4 "Go ye" Means "Go me"
4. Who was meant to obey the “Great Commission” in Mark 16:15-16? Select from the following list: (A) The apostles? (B) Christians in the first century? (C) Christians in mission fields? (D) You and me and every Christian?
Each person needs to feel that Jesus meant him or her personally when he said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel..." (Mark 16:15-16). All the answers above are right, but the last answer is where our focus should be.
As Ivan Stewart, director of Campaigns for Christ, stated it in Melbourne, "Go ye means go me!" Brother Stewart's campaigns were of the mass impact variety. Yet he emphasised the need for every Christian to be individually and personally committed to his or her own outreach responsibility.
5 How Do I Start?
5. There are two simple things which are the keys to unlocking successful outreach for you. See if you can pick them: (A) Encyclopedic Bible knowledge? (B) Charismatic personality? (C) A watchful eye for the “open door” ? (D) Self confidence and positive outlook? (E) The gift of the gab? (F) The urge to invite and share?
All the things in the above list might be helpful, but only two are needful.
- One is an awareness of the opportunities and openings that come our way to say a word for Jesus. Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white unto harvest" (John 4:35).
- The other is the desire to share with others what Jesus has given you, and such a strong desire that you are always inviting people to share the blessing of salvation through the word. Paul said, "I am under a compulsion. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel" (1Corinthians 9:16).
A Prayer for Outreach
Our Dear Father above, we thank you for the gospel which we have heard and believed.
We thank you for baptism wherein we died with Christ and were born anew.
We thank you for the church which blesses us with ministry and fellowship.
Create in us a longing to share our faith and reach out to others. Let us work together in loving zeal, and Father please richly bless our work.
Help those who seek truth to find it and let us be your tools —for unless we serve you and save people’s souls, our lives are meaningless.
Father, you gave us seed to sow. May we sow in good soil and have the joy of growth.
In all things we praise you for we know it is you who will give the increase.
In Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.
Answers to Exercises: •Exercise 1 Answer: (G) Finding and helping those who genuinely seek God’s way. •Exercise 2 Answer: (A) Sunday 3rd August 1980, the day the congregation began. •Exercise 3 Answer: It's hard to beat (E) Personal invitation in day‑to‑day contacts. •Exercise 4 Answer: (D) You and me and every Christian! •Exercise 5 Answer: (C) A watchful eye for the “open door” and (F) The urge to invite and share.