As believers, we are so familiar with the term “evangelistic outreach.” Often, we have campaigns and programmes to encourage and guide us in sharing the gospel with our family members, friends, and colleagues. The process includes bringing them to church—either as part of the evangelistic effort, or as a result of them coming to Christ through these evangelistic events.
All of these are fine, but I would like to suggest that we have missed a very critical endpoint of these efforts.
I once spoke with a pastor of a local congregation who had spent three decades as a military man before becoming a pastor. While in the military, he was very much involved in military Christian fellowship and kingdom living in military camps and premises. When he became a pastor, he noticed something very critical that was missing in all our Christian endeavors. He shared that the church promotes evangelistic outreach, where the idea is to go out, talk to people about God, and then bring them back to the church and disciple them.
He finds that this is not wrong. However, this should not be the end goal. Instead, he believes that our focus should be to reach people wherever they are in their communities, and disciple them to live out their Christianity—their love for God and their allegiance to the Kingdom—through the norms of the communities they live in.
In other words, the key is not just to bring people to church, but to lead them to live for Him, wherever they are and with whatever they have. This way, the Kingdom of God reaches and manifests through the lives of believers in their communities, and they become a witness to others around them. In the longer term, the Kingdom of God—through the lives of these believers—influences and changes the way of life in the communities.
I would like to suggest that we move beyond focusing on Evangelistic Outreach to Kingdom Living, the latter encompassing the former. The expression of Church, as the body of Christ, is thus established beyond the walls of the weekend congregations, going all over in communities and societies.
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