What is a Biblical outreach? If we study the Book of Acts, we find that the early church was continually seeking the lost. That was their foundational activity. True, they did serve the poor and needy, but that was their own poor and needy. Their primary goal was to fulfill the directives of their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded them to GO and PREACH the Gospel to every creature. And, that is what they did. Fast forward a couple thousand years and survey your typical church. Read their website, and go through their calendar. How much evangelism is going on? Sure, they serve the poor and needy, but there is little gospel getting outside the walls of the church. Here’s what happened to me about 7 years ago. The men’s pastor at my church gave me a free “Evidence Bible” new testament from Living Waters, Ray Comfort. I knew of Ray and thought he was an excellent teacher. However, after going through the Bible and viewing some video from The Way of the Master program, I was heavily convicted. After meeting with the pastor and grieving over the glaring lack of evangelism, a small pilot program of evangelism training and regular outreaches were planned and executed. Fast forward 5 years. A new, progressive mega church took over the administration of our church. By that time, I had gone over the edge, I’m sure, in their mind. While interning as the pastor of evangelism, my brother and I constructed a four foot plywood cross, similar to one used by many street evangelists. Ours said ‘EVERY KNEE’ across the cross beam. When the new administration came across it, they were shocked. This did not fit into their idea of evangelism. Did we actually carry that thing out in public and hand out tracts? Was this our idea of outreach?
You see, in their minds, outreach was like helping people with charitable acts — preaching the gospel “without words”. Also, good stewardship of the earth is important. Plus, it is important to be “world changers”.
Is this your church? Are you being taught how to share the gospel? Is there an urgency to get the Word of God out to the lost that they may be saved from the righteous justice and wrath of God? Or, are you just feeding and clothing people on their way down the highway to hell?
Biblical outreach is that which conforms to the activities of Jesus and His disciples in the New Testament. The directive has not changed. The early church continued daily with one accord in the temple. They were united in their efforts to herald the truth about the Risen Christ. Paul showed how one may continue in their profession (he was a self-employed tent manufacturer) and use this as a platform to reason in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. (Acts 17:17) He reasoned in the synagogues that Jesus was the Christ, that the Christ had to become the sacrifice for sins, and that the King was returning. These early disciples turned the world upside down by proclaiming the True Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. They were not driven to conquer world hunger, fight injustice, or the myriad of other causes that have always existed. As more and more were added to the Body of Jesus Christ, world conditions improved. But, when the church sacrifices evangelism for social programs, she is failing to carry out the Great Commission.
So, that was the end of my tenure at the church. But, the battle is not over. Though none go with me, still I will follow, and by the grace of God continue to be a fisher of men.