31 July 2013

Get Out of Your Cozy Zone

Outreach. It's the big deal in evangelical churches and for good reason. We want the kingdom to grow, and, to do that, we must have some type of outreach. It seemed like in the past anything that involved inviting people who didn't attend your church to come to your church was called outreach. This is common practice even today.


"VBS Program" Invite the neighbor kids to come to your church.

"Chili Cook-off" Invite the neighborhood to come taste your chili at your church

and my personal favorite and old-fashioned stand-by, "Bring a Friend Sunday," on which you invite someone who doesn't already have a church home or who is searching for faith to come to your church.

Notice anything? 

I'll give you a hint. Bold letters.

All of these things serve a great purpose and certainly have their place, and I'm not knocking any of them. All I'm saying is that the outreach in its very root has the word "out" in it for a reason.  

Get out of the church. Reach people.

I don't think I did get it for a long time. I tend to be introverted, and though I've served on leadership teams for many various things, started going on mission trips as a young girl, and willingly have served in many ways, getting out of the church takes me far from my comfort zone, so I avoided giving it any thought. I think most people could say the same thing if they took a moment to be honest with themselves about it. We go where we are comfortable, and we try to stay there most of the time. Having attended church since the age of 6, church is my cozy space. Being the church to the world and reaching out isn't easy for me, but this is what Jesus asks of us. He didn't stay inside His Father's house where Mary and Joseph found Him teaching at age 12. He ventured into the world and spent time with people in some pretty uncomfortable locales. We are called to put on our Jesus shoes and do the same thing. 

Get out of our cozy zone and reach the world.

I believe this looks different for individual faith communities, but I believe that the one characteristic that effective Christian outreach contains regardless of your denomination, style of worship, geographic location, size of your congregation and various other factors is that it takes place away from our buildings and requires us to engage with people right where we live. 

I'll offer ideas on what I have seen work in another post. For now, I hope I have you thinking about how your church can reach those around you effectively and truly be Jesus to the world.

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