Building a Comprehensive Outreach Strategy, Part 2
In last week’s team update, I outlined four levels of a comprehensive outreach strategy:
A Common Mistake
Many churches invest time and energy in public relations and in meeting needs throughout their community. Yet, they do not take the next step of intentionally planning and producing high-quality bridge events. Even fewer do the necessary work to equip and mobilize their congregation to be personally committed to and engaged in personal evangelism.
I was having a conversation recently with one of our pastors and was struck by a statement he made. He said, “The church is more missional today, but it is less evangelistic.”
Are we making a mistake by engaging our churches in public relations and meeting needs as a substitute for true evangelistic outreach?
Build a Strategy with All Four Building Blocks
I am not suggesting that public relations and meeting needs are not important. They are.
Public relations are the things we do because we are part of the community. We do them because we are good neighbors.
Meeting needs are the things we do to help people experience the tangible love of God. We do these things because we are followers of Christ and he commanded us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison.
But we must go beyond these two important components of outreach. We must move into intentional and focused evangelistic strategies by creating bridge events and equipping people for personal evangelism.
As a standard best practice, churches should plan at least one high-quality bridge event each quarter. This could be a Christmas outreach like “The Big Give,” an Easter Egg Hunt, a July 4th Freedom Festival, or some other creative idea that you and your team develop. The point is that these events need to introduce people to your church and intentionally share the Gospel.
As important as the first three levels of your outreach strategy are, the real key to an effective outreach strategy is leading and equipping your congregation to care about and be involved in personal evangelism. Since every follower of Christ is called to “fish for people” (Matt. 4:19), the church must equip every person to share their faith.
A simple strategy you can use is to have every person in your church…
I hope that you will take a fresh look at your church’s outreach strategy to determine which ones of these building blocks are strongest and which ones are weakest or missing altogether. If we can make sure all four of these building blocks are in place, we have a better opportunity to be missional and evangelistic.
If you are looking for assistance to equip the people in your church to share their faith with those in their relational network, feel free to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). As part of the follow-up training and coaching we provide to Maximizing Impact Churches in the Crossroads District, we offer a 3-hour workshop to equip people to share their faith stories with others. This training is now available to any church in the district.
Celebrating Missional Advances at Laketon
Pastor Dave Cox from Laketon Wesleyan Church reports that the church, over the last few years, has grown from 20 to nearly 60. On a recent friend day, they had 66 people in attendance. More importantly, this Sunday they baptized Amy and Susan (pictured below). We are celebrating how God is at work making people new!
Wesleyan Church History & Discipline Course
The Crossroads District was pleased to host its first Wesleyan Church History & Discipline course this past weekend at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. Nine students were apart of this inaugural course taught by Dr. Bud Bence. We hope to make this an annual offering to help ministers transferring from other denominations and ministerial students whose educational programs did not include this course.