How Will You Engage Every Group in Local Outreach?
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How Will You Engage Every Group in Local Outreach?

Postby » Fri May 04, 2018 12:05 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:30 pm

Rockbridge Student

Postby » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:48 pm

As I was listening to Steve’s presentation about providing opportunities for local outreach, it reminded me of the small group I visited for last week’s assignment. They have an energetic leader that gets involved in local opportunities and passes this excitement on to others in the group. By providing an example of what it looks like, what is involved, and the blessings it brings, she is providing much more than an opportunity. She is showing them answers to questions which they haven’t yet asked.

She has become an integral part of a ministry to a large group of Chinese students at our local four-year college. She works as and provides American mentors to Chinese students so that they can get more familiar with our town, our culture, and our language. The program is not meant specifically to evangelize them into our churches, but that is a natural result of providing Christian mentors.

It is interesting that even though this is a local outreach, it has global implications. Taking God’s Word into such an atheist country is difficult. But when young people from that country return as Christians, the leadership has difficulty stopping it. We know that the future of a country rests in the next generation. Is anyone else trying such an approach?
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:49 pm

Rockbridge Student

Postby » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:26 am

"Are we providing opportunities to help the community to see our people reaching beyond the walls of our homes and our church?" Steve asked this question in his video and it is a question we have been discussing at our church. We have noticed that our church has developed a "come and see us" attitude instead of a "let's go and do" attitude. In the last few years, a majority of our outreach has required the community to come to our church. The community appreciates what we offer, but we are not meeting them where they are. So, we have not seen many, if any, people return to the church for regular Sunday activities because they attended a community outreach event.

We are working to change this mindset, but it is like changing the direction of a tanker ship! It is a slow process. Our church sits next to a shopping center and within one mile of two schools. Our goals are to somehow connect with the businesses and the schools. Any suggestions on how best to do this and involve many members in the process?
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Rockbridge Student

Postby » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:36 am

Compared with reaching globally, I believe reaching locally is much more obtainable to every believer. Especially if the church provides the small groups with the resources they need to get into contact with local ministry, reaching locally can be an easy step in the life of a small group. I believe it is my bias towards overseas missions, but I believe global outreach is more impactful to the life of a believer as the change in scenery opens the believer’s heart to a new avenue of communication with God. That being said, I believe local outreach can be extremely beneficial.

Steve points this out in the fact that local outreach allows the believer to glimpse part of their community that the might not otherwise be associated with. Local outreach also allows the community to see that the church is active in the welfare and development of their community. I believe the latter point is an essential and pivotal point to encourage local outreach.

Many times, people have a negative or preconceived opinion of a church that is often skewed by their own experience with another church. By encouraging local outreach in each small group, these people will have a positive motive to focus on when they see the church. If a church wants to continue to grow it must be effective in the community and local outreach is a great opportunity to do this.

As Steve listed the seven areas that the small groups can be impactful to the community through local outreach, I start to wonder if focusing on one or two areas is more effective than blanketing all the areas. What if a church decides on one or two ministry or areas in the community that they will devote their time and energy towards. Do you think focusing on a few areas is more impactful in the community, or should there be freedom inside the small group to choose the area they want?
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:49 pm

Rockbridge Student

Postby » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:24 am

Wow! That is an interesting approach and a unique small group. I have never given much thought to how impactful it would be provide Christian mentors to college students from another country. That same concept works when we mentor young people from a non-Christian home. I have heard many stories where young children have led their parents to the church and even to Christ. It gives me more motivation to always be mentoring my "one" because you never know how far reaching the one will go.

I have never tried this approach of reaching others in foreign countries through students here in the states. Thanks for sharing this idea! We have several colleges in our area, so I will definitely be sharing this small group idea with others in our church. We have several church members who are extremely mission-focused. Perhaps this would be a way for them to do mission work real close to home and be involved in small group ministry!
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:49 pm

Rockbridge Student

Postby » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:35 am

Those are great questions and probably the answers depend on the church. For us, unity is a huge struggle right now because everyone is doing their own focus. This creates confusion and sometimes too many choices for service. In order to bring back a centralized focus, we are exploring the idea of one area local mission to serve. By having one local mission field, we will be able to build relationships outside the church and with each other. It also decreases the choices so all of our churches energy goes to one place. I believe this also creates excitement when church members serve together often. When we are all doing the same mission and focus, we will definitely spend time with other church members. Hopefully, we will become unified as one church body again.

For other churches there may be a need to provide more opportunities to match the various spiritual gifts and talents. Whatever a church decides, I think the more important question to answer is the one Steve asked in his video: "Are we providing opportunities to help the community to see our church people reaching beyond the walls of our homes and church?" When the answer is yes, that's when the non-Christians will have encounters with Jesus that impact their lives eternally.
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Re: How Will You Engage Every Group in Local Outreach?

Postby » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:43 pm

My wife serves with the "International Student Program" at the Christian school my kids attend and she helps to arrange host families for 70 students from around the globe, most of whom are not yet believers. Like Kent mentioned, it is a "local outreach" that has global implications because host families are 'adopting' these students for a season and share the love of Christ with them. Several families from my church host these students. It is helpful when there's coordinated effort in identifying strategic outreach opportunities that can be made available to groups and celebrated from the platform. I believe having this kind of organization and communication of a church's "incarnational evangelism" (go and tell) initiatives will help non-Christians have encounters with Jesus (as Janet notes above).

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