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Posts Tagged ‘ways to reach out’

Series on witness

Last week we began looking at ways that any one of us can reach out – no special gifts or callings needed. Remember with me the first five:

Live a faithful Christian life. Let your light shine so that others can see God’s work in your life and give glory to God.

Share what God has done for you. Look for ways to share your story and how God has blessed you. Not just when you first became a Christian but also what God is doing in your life today.

Pray for the lost. Ask God to put specific people on your heart that you can regularly pray for.

Pray for outreach workers,that God will raise people up to minister to the lost, even from our congregation.

Support those that are called to reach out. Give financially so they can fulfill their calling and encourage and pray for them.

Today we continue on with yet more ways each one of us can reach out. And the first is to –

Build relationships with the lost

Sometimes long-time Christians are hindered from reaching out because all their friends are fellow believers. They don’t have a lot of connections with the lost. This certainly wasn’t true of Jesus. Luke 15:1-2 says, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’”

Now this comes to us in part as a complaint from his critics, but it is true. Jesus was around the lost, and while he was with them in genuine relationship with them, he engaged them with the gospel. It says, they wanted to hear him. Are you open to this? The lost are all around us, but are you open to being in relationship? It’s easier to just hang out with fellow believers. But as Jesus said, “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9:12).

In my former church we began a ministry to the homeless in our area. And I met tons of people, both Christian and non-Christian. And we would eat together and get to know each other and talk about needs and spiritual things. And my family and I formed relationships with some that last to this day.

But you don’t have to do this. Just be open to whoever God brings across your path. And even take the initiative.

Make use of outreach opportunities at church

Paul says in Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (NIV) This verse obviously applies very broadly. But it certainly applies to the point that one of the easiest ways to share your faith is by inviting people to church. This isn’t the end goal, of course, but it can lead to the goal of someone discovering new life in Jesus.This is using wisdom to take advantage of opportunities in relation to outsiders.

  • So come to VBS and invite children to come
  • Come to VBS follow-up and meet the families of the children.
  • Come to events like our recent block party and invite others to come.
  • Come to our upcoming Christmas activities – wreath making, Christmas caroling, and invite others.
  • Come and invite people to our Sunday services

*Think for a moment, who might you invite? Maybe it’s the same person or persons whom God has put on your heart to pray for.

Did you know that 66% of the people that come to church come because a friend has invited them or brought them along with them. This is by far the highest percentage. For instance only 8% come from a pastor’s efforts; only ¼% from evangelistic crusades.

Along these same lines . . .

Show hospitality to those who visit

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells the church he addresses in chapter 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.” We are to be loving, warm and welcoming to every single person who comes to our church, whatever their background might be.

Now we have a hospitality ministry team that works at this and I am grateful for them, but everyone needs to be involved.

According to the experts a person decides if they like a church and will come back within their first 11 minutes. So take the initiative, get to know people, learn their names, find out some things about them, connect them with other people in the congregation, invite them over for dinner.

*Are there people here today, or maybe who have been coming for a while that you still don’t know their names? This is something to work on so that we can be a more hospitable congregation.

Serve others in Jesus’ name

Jesus said in John 12:24 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” He is talking about laying down his life for others on the cross. And when he did this it bore much fruit in that so many have come to salvation based on seeing the love of Jesus on the cross for them.

And we are to take up our cross and serve others. Give of your time, your talents to serve and bless others. Lay down your lives to help others. And when we do this it too will bear much fruit. People respond when they see such love.

*Some of you have been working at this and I am so thankful. But we still have opportunities to serve here in SW Chambersburg. Denise has put together some action cards, some of which have to do with serving and others with sharing. You can look at these after the service. What might God lead you to do?

And then finally,

Love one another

This is our corporate witness as a congregation. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

It’s not common to see real love for others – especially beyond family or friends. But we are to love each other deeply from the heart. We are to give our lives for each other by ministering to each other’s needs, sacrificing for each other, encouraging each other, and forgiving each other.

This kind of love is supernatural. It is fruit of the Spirit of God working in our hearts. I would like for us to be a congregation that is known for our deep love for one another; so that when people come they sense it and know that God is at work. And will be drawn themselves to be a follower of Jesus.

* In your bulletin you have the handout: 21 Traits of Love – A Test. Most of you have seen it before, but look it over again. Take it home with you and see how you are doing loving others – especially your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

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