Last week I had a great lunch with a pastor who is committed to leading his church toward the mission of making disciples. In the course of our conversation, I asked him an important question for that process – what was his plan was for outreach? I wanted to know how he was planning to lead the people in his congregation to make disciples by reaching the unsaved and unchurched.
Whether you use an attraction model or missional model, we all need to be reaching people. Even Jesus drew people to Himself before they took the necessary steps to become fully trained disciples. Think of it this way: the likelihood that someone will become a fully trained disciple without stepping into a Christ-crowd in a local church at some point is slim to none. Every fully trained disciple made it to that point because of some outreach effort by the Church that helped them take a step toward Christ.
Every church that is serious about helping people become fully trained disciples needs to have a plan for reaching the culture around them. Jesus had such a plan. The Church in Jerusalem had such a plan. Every church Paul planted had such a plan. Every church in the world today needs such a plan.
At times I have asked pastors if they have a plan for reaching the culture, and they say, “I hope we reach them.” You know what? Hope is not a plan. Having the desire or intention to reach people in no way guarantees you will. You must have an intentional and strategic plan for connecting with the people in the culture and leading them to Christ and His Church.
Hands down the best plan to help people in your church reach the culture is through personal relationships. The most effective way to reach people for Christ is by people reaching people. Part of your plan for reaching the culture must be teaching people in your church how to connect with lost people and how to share Christ with them.
Another great way to reach your culture for Christ is through servant evangelism or random acts of kindness. If a church mobilizes its people in a collective effort of reaching people through acts of service you might be surprised at the outcome. Several times a year our church goes out into our community and serves in a way that can lead people to “come and see” what Christ has to offer them.
One great way to reach the culture around you is to maximize special events and built in “big days.” Easter and Christmas are “big days” that make it easier to invite people to church. A marriage series or conference is another special events that can be planned to draw people to “come and see” more about Christ.
In our church, we use small groups called “Discovery Groups” to reach our culture. A Discovery Group is when we start a small group around a felt need, such as a marital group, and invite people in the neighborhood. People will often attend a meeting in a home before they will step foot in the doors of a church.
One final method we use in our church is social media and advertising. We believe in getting the word out about Christ and His Church by using the resources we have at our disposal. You may be surprised at who will check out your church simply because you made an invite on social media or via email.
Making disciples begins with reaching people for Christ. At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we can help you build a plan to reach people. Contact us at impactdisciples.com for more information.