An often misused piece of Scripture is Paul’s statement that he has become all things to all men that he might win some. I say misused because people have taken this Scripture to give them liberty to do things that would harm the name of Christ and emphasizes a “ends justifies the means” mentality.
Still, it will no longer do to just sit in our churches and expect the unsaved to come to us looking for answers. Seriously, there are few instances now where the unsaved are turning to the churches for anything. There is no natural respect for the church or what it stands for, and this generation does not have the desire to return to church. Since this is the case, we need to be out meeting them where they are.
This can be done door-to-door, through passing out tracks, and other open air evangelism, but as we talked before, the greatest potential for seeing people saved and developing a passion for God exists in reaching out to those in need– especially children.
Outreaches that have traditionally done this are Good News Clubs and 5-Day Clubs. The problem that I have had with these, traditionally, is three fold:
- They are typically not run by a church, but by an “extra-church” organization.
- They are not usually focused on bringing people into a church, but tend toward just working with kids who are already Christians.
- They focus exclusively on the children, possibly missing out on opportunities to reach out to parents.
Don’t get me wrong– any ministry that is seeing souls saved, lives changed, and people are passionate about ministering in is worthwhile. What I am saying is that without an overarching plan– a reason for doing this ministry– what we can find ourselves having is a lot of little islands and missed opportunities.
What I am suggesting is the creation of ministry with purpose, and my purpose for these ministries would be to:
- Have these people be the front lines: Spreading the Gospel and Meeting Needs.
- Getting people familiar with the Word of God and basic terms.
- Teaching young children how to read the Bible and study it for themselves.
- Encouraging the connection between individuals and a local church.
What we’ll look at over the next few weeks we’ll look at some concepts and the “bridge work” (if you will) to reach the lost, and grow the church like Jesus commanded.
11 thoughts on “Meet Them Where They Are”
Being a somewhat geeky girl, I personally went online to look for answers. I was in my late twenties and had had some really bad personal things happening to me.
By chance I came across something about ‘Bob Jones University’ which seemed like a place that was pretty categorical in it’s position on things, but without being a cult and without wanting anything for it (other than getting me ‘saved’ perhaps.)
I downloaded some sermons by preachers there and was really impressed. It was the Bible, but without any excuses about the message, and without any complicated explanations about why some parts where important and relevant and others not. (These things had previously made me write Christianity as fake and insubstantial. )
Like any other Swedish citizen, I was ‘born’ into the Lutheran State Church of Sweden. However, it seems to me that this church has sold out. The message is so watered out that it is hard to know that you are listening to a Christian sermon when attending a service. I sat through tons of them while in school, without ever hearing anything that made any impression on me. I knew very little about Jesus.
After listening to 20 or so Bob Jones sermons on my iPod while running or commuting, I became hooked and convinced… It seemed to me as if God was offering, via the Bible, a way of living your life in way that meant you could be proud of yourself, content and unafraid of the future. (These guys are such good preachers!)
Now I am not sure what to do about following up though. I feel shy about turning up in church locally, and the one church where I know people is 1 hours commute away on the train.
Cordelia’s story is fabulous!
Hey, I’ll be praying for you, Cordelia, that God will bring you to a place where you can be discipled. In the meantime, keep reading your Bible and listening to good teaching. 🙂
That’s a great testimony, Cordelia. It’s interesting that you found some answers at the BJU site, being that I’m a BJU grad.
What’s important now is what Rebecca said and to find a place that you can worship. You need to take a look at the different things that different churches believe and seek out one that agrees with what you believe the Bible teaches.
I believe that BJU also has a church finding program (I know it does for the states, but I’m not sure about outside?), and you may be able to find help there.
If this church an hour away is solid, by all means go there!
Isn’t Ann in grace in Sweden? Okay, so it’s a big country – but she may be able to help find you a church.
Ann is in Sweden, but Cordelia is in England.
Ahh… well in that case, maybe I can help. Our church keeps a list of good fellowships around the UK.
Cordelia, if you want to email me at [email protected], letting me know where you are (what town), I could ask for some suggested churches.
A few years ago I heard a sermon from a pastor who had a whole bunch of statistics about families coming to Christ, and what spawned it. I can not seem to find any references online to the study that was done (in Australia I believe). Bear with me as I attempt to remember the numbers, as they will not be 100% accurate (but I think the message will be clear anyway).
If you win a child to Christ, there is a 30% chance the whole family will come to Christ.
If you win a mother to Christ, there is a 60% chance the whole family will come to Christ.
If you win a father to Christ, there is a 90% chance the entire family will come to Christ.
I think with these numbers (again, not precise but their correlation about right), where should the church concentrate its efforts?
Without a doubt it should be on Men’s ministries and teaching fathers to take their needed role. Yet, this is an area most often ignored by the church. To bring up an example, how many churches do you know who have a men’s bible study or other equivalent program? How many churches do you know who have a woman’s bible study? The churches I’ve attended are 0 and 2 respectively.
If we expect our father’s to be the spiritual leaders of our households yet as a Church we are not helping equip them on how to do so we are failing. Why is it that the mother is usually the acting spiritual leader in the majority of households? I think this ties into who the church has catered their programs.
With this said I think the best way to reach the next generation is through their fathers, not through the youth itself. Reaching the fathers re-establishes the spiritual order in the household, brings the hearts of sons to their fathers, and brings more people to Christ.
I guaranty if you find a household where the father is walking in proper authority, service Christ and dedicating his live to Him, you have found a household where the children and the wife will know the Word and will also be serving Him.
Fix the family, put the man back in the balanced role he had before and everything in the church will fall inline as Christ intended. I realize that is a very bold statement but I have failed to see any real life example that would demonstrate anything differently.
Good points Doug. Our church does actually have a men’s group. But besides that, I meet in a bible study each week on the University campus, where everyone present is male. It is not a rule that this be so, but frequently I think men’s groups do not need to be labelled men’s groups.
The key thing is to be reaching out where we are and in what we do.
But I do think that we can get too hung up on youth ministry (and I say this after having spent at least 20 years as a youth worker). Youth ministry in the church is important to train up our youth, and any minsitry should have an outreach focus, so we should continue to reach out to young people. But as you say, if father’s come to Christ then the family is more likely to follow.
Anecdotally (so it does not mean as much as the stats) I can attest to this. We have seen various young people come to Christ through our youth ministries. I can only think of one case when a father then followed. On the other hand, I can think of several occasions when a mother or father came to Christ and young people followed. One of these young people is now in training for full time ministry.
Thanks for the tips everyone – I realised after posting that it may have been a bit rude posting such a long story that only related to my personal experience.
I am Swedish but live in London. Ann Grace actually left a sweet post on my blog, so I will get in touch with her!
Stephen – I live in Richmond upon Thames, SW London.
ABOUT Stephen’ s interesting stats; Isn’t it SAD that women are more religious than men – I have read so many stories now about families where wife is CHristian and husband not… What a sad state for that family!
Perhaps evengelisation can be tuned towards men somehow?
There ‘s got to be some way of reaching them!!
The church would be rather sad if 2/3 in it were women! Men play such an important role.
I was talking with a friend of mine from BJU today that attends my church, and he was saying how hard it is to have a men’s ministry because of the way men are. The two things that are hard for men to overcome are their ego (what me, a sinner?), and the propensity to want to fix things themselves. This makes it hard for men to open up, admit they’re sinners and repent.
It is something that we have to pray about, though!
Cordelia, I think they were Doug’s stats, not mine. I just commented on them anecdotally.
Richmond should have plenty of good churches in the vicinity. I’ll ask our church office for some recommendations. Of course, in greater London travel times are going to be longer.
There’s a lovely park there though. 🙂 I bet it is particularly nice with the current weather.
Anyway, I’ll write back again after I have spoken to the church office.