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Discipleship through Outreach

Beginning Sunday (Jan 30th), we will start a new sermon series that will span 12 weeks. It’s a series that’s near and dear to my heart, one I’ve learned I was lacking in my own discipleship training as I grew up in the church. It’s a series about outreach.

I’m not talking outreach in the sense you’re probably thinking of. I’m talking about outreach as evangelism. One thing we have failed to do in most Disciples of Christ churches is to teach generations how to tell their story, how to reach out to others, how to talk about their faith to strangers, to friends, and to family.

We haven’t impressed upon generations the need for this, the importance of it.

And now, we’re left not knowing what to do or where to turn. We’re left with a huge gap in how we are to fulfill the mission God has commanded us to go on. Remember? That Great Commission thing? Yeah, that command.

How do we do that if we don’t know how to share our story without feeling the anxiety gripping us by the throat and forcing us to stop talking? How do we bring people into the church and turn them into disciples, not just new believers, but people who are learning how to disciple others?

This is where we have failed, and this is where we need to learn and grow this coming year. “This will not happen accidentally. There will be huge spiritual resistance to outreach. The only way outreach will become a natural part of a congregation’s life is when every leader and each ministry are gripped by a commitment to fulfill the Great Commission” (Organic Outreach by Kevin G. Harney).

Learning how to do this is what will fulfill our calling in this faith. It’s what we are commanded to do over and over again: to love one another, but also to baptize, to teach, to obey—something we haven’t been doing on a grand scale for so many years we’ve forgotten how.

This series will get us started on taking back our discipleship, it will get us started on deepening our own faith lives while teaching us how to share our story and reach those who are on the outskirts of the church and those who haven’t even thought about setting foot inside this family. This is how we will grow, not just numerically (although that’s nice), but this is how we will grow in our spiritual lives and see growth in others as well. This is how we will better do the mission Christ has sent us on.

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