As the church, are we willing to try a variety of outreach approaches and put ourselves “out there” to reach people for Christ? Is there a readiness for God’s people to stretch themselves beyond our comfort levels even if we feel vulnerable or at risk, for the sake of the gospel?
As a missionary church planter, I think outreach and evangelism is one of the hardest things we do. Frankly speaking, leading Sunday morning worship services, preaching, teaching a Growth Group, and counseling is hard work but evangelism and outreach takes guts, patience and a relentless spirit to see people as Jesus see them.
Just recently Mountain View, through our Eyes to See Commission (ETS), began to take a serious look at how we could make a greater impact in our community. We thought surely if we pray to the Lord of the harvest, He’ll reveal where and to whom we should go as well as bring about the laborers we needed… and He did. Let me share just one new ministry we’ve become a part of in our community, and then ask you, our ministry partners, to pray along with us about two other outreach events that are coming up later this month.
We have a new partnership ministry with the Somerset West Night Shelter. ETS team members from Mountain View are organized into teams and twice a month we go to the Night Shelter to intentionally develop relationships and look for ways to share Christ. Practically, we provide money and food to feed hungry people, we collect and take clothing and shoes, make special deserts and join them after dinner for times to talk and get to know each other better. Just last week we had a movie night with some popcorn, lots of smiles and hugs. When you listen to the homeless and their stories, seriously, it’s unbelievable. Some who were abandoned by their families, some well educated who fell on seriously hard times, many addicted to drugs and alcohol, others with serious medical and emotional issues, and the list goes on. What is obvious, and what they need most, is a Saviour and hope for a future. We know we can’t solve most of their earthly problems, however, we can put ourselves out there and offer them God’s gift of salvation.
Coming up on Saturday, October 19th, is the first of two outreach events planned for this month. We are hosting a fun sweetheart evening and we’re going all out with a special dinner for our Mountain View couples and the guests they will bring. Last Sunday morning 22 couples signed up – so we are off to a good start. Love Is In The Air is the theme and I’ll have an opportunity to encourage couples and talk about lasting relationships. This event is all about building bridges into people’s lives, strengthening the home, marriages, and introducing Christ and our church to the guests who will come at the invitation of our people. I love it when I see our folks putting themselves out there to try to reach their family and friends.
After that we’ll quickly regroup for a Women’s Hope and Help Conference. This one-night event will be offered twice (October 22 and 24) and it’s aimed at helping women who deal with depression. There has been a tremendous response to the posters scattered all over town, the radio interview Nancy has done, Facebook invitations, flyer drops, newspaper ads and just good old fashion word of mouth publicity. This event could change a person’s life forever. For so long the issue of depression has been a “taboo topic” yet as our ladies have planned this event, many are coming forward and asking for help. As a follow-up to the conference, Mountain View will also offer a women’s Growth Group as part of our on-going Sunday evening ministries to provide a place for women to further connect with our church and hear the message of hope. Please pray for Nancy as she teaches the Growth Group and facilitates the event.
All of that sounds kind of hectic doesn’t it? But that is just where we need to be — putting ourselves out there for Christ. I love what Paul said in his letter to Timothy, as he wanted to make his life count for Jesus Christ, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim. 4:6-7)
May God find all of us faithful as we partner to reach our communities and the world for Christ. Would you mark those October dates on your calendar and add them to your prayer list? We’ll report back in next month’s blog. Love and prayers to all of you, our faithful partners!