Responsibilities of the Church Day 18 – Outreach Work in the Community
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47, ESV)
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14, ESV)
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” (Isaiah 6:8, ESV)
One of the main functions of the local church is the spread of the gospel. Over the years there have been many different forms of community outreach, and as the times change, so do the methods. Corner street preachers and months-long gospel tent services may have been common in the past, but outreaches now are more likely to consist of community dinners and vacation Bible school. This is not to say that any of these methods are better than the others, but that there are many different ways to share the gospel with your community.
How do we start sharing the gospel? Build trust in your community. People are more willing to come to events like gospel services or Sunday School when they know who you are, so let them see your smiling faces out in the community. It may be shocking to hear, but not every gospel outreach requires a gospel sermon. Host community dinners, tutoring services, babysitting nights, festivals and more. Think about how Jesus lived. He dined with tax collectors and publicans. He shared a meal with them, and while I’m sure it was a relaxed and sociable setting, there were countless times when He shared the good news as they sat together. He made everyone feel comfortable and welcome in His presence. If there is a way to show the people around you that you genuinely care for them, do it. You’ll be amazed at how effortlessly conversations in these situations can turn to the gospel.
Have a regular gospel service. This may seem like an obvious statement, yet perhaps it’s not as common as it should be. Consistently meeting as a local church for the purpose of sharing the gospel is not only good for the unbelievers in attendance but also for the community at large. If someone is searching, they should be able to see the regular schedule and know that they have the opportunity every week to attend. That being said, ensure that this schedule is posted online so it’s easily accessible. Have an up-to-date website and social media page for people to refer to at any time.
Meet your community where they are. This has become more of a cliché in recent history but is true nonetheless. Is there a popular local festival where you can share gospel pamphlets? Become a vendor. Is there a halfway home or soup kitchen nearby? Make it a regular habit to volunteer. Is there a neighborhood or park where you can conduct children’s services/outreaches? There is so much benefit to being within walking distance or even just earshot of those in need of a Savior. There are so many ways to be present in and around your community, and all it takes is a little effort to make a big impact. Remember, the more they see you and know you, the more comfortable they will be in attending services.
My challenge for you is to find ways you can reach out to your community, whether through your personal connections or your local church. Brainstorm with members of your church means by which you can reach out to your community, and then help towards that goal. Ask the Lord to stir up a desire in your own heart and in the hearts of the local church to start new outreach efforts. Take the first step towards sharing the gospel with your community.