December is here, which means Christmas is directly ahead in the crosshairs and the 2017 Organic Outreach Intensive and Conference is in the rear-view mirror. With the actual events behind us, one of the closing encouragements given to those who attended was to carry the momentum and enthusiasm forward. Outreach is not something that will spontaneously combust into a roaring fire within our congregations and denominations because a few folks went to a conference or a training. These events are intended to be a flame that is carefully carried back home and tended and nurtured. A flame that is shared and that gradually spreads. In order for it to spread and begin to work itself into the very core of who we are as Christians, it must be fanned, fed and intentionally, relentlessly nurtured.
Whether you joined us last month in Monterey, or at another Organic Outreach training in the past – or if you have never been to one of our trainings, but you have somehow come across our site and stumbled onto our newsletter, or if you are anywhere in-between – my encouragement to you is that you embrace this coming Christmas in your church as an opportunity to help people make connections. As Christians, we should be celebrating and praising God for the birth of Jesus Christ every day – not just on Christmas. But, as one of the two days of the year (Christmas and Easter) with more people attending a church than any other day of the year – we should also be examining how we engage with those who otherwise never set foot in a church:
- For those in this category who actually have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but are not seeing the purpose in coming together in Christian Community (and most likely not seeing their purpose in living out a Christian life through all the days in-between), prepare your congregation to welcome them warmly with grace and love and create an experience that leaves them desiring to come back…before Easter.
- For those who have no relationship with Christ and may actually know next to nothing about the real story of Christmas, who are possibly only there through invitations and urgings of their friends and families, prepare your congregation to welcome them warmly with grace and love – helping them to feel that they belong, whether or not they believe.
- For those who have been brought up in a church, or been exposed to Christianity but have either never made a commitment or have perhaps fallen away and are at a low point in their life – so low that they are actually seeking again and have found themselves at your Christmas service – perhaps wracked with guilt and deeply wounded…prepare your congregation to welcome them warmly with grace and love. Have people standing by to pray with them and to offer them an opportunity to connect or reconnect with a God who forgives completely and who is faithful beyond anything we could possibly experience in this world.
Bottom line – be absolutely intentional about baking outreach into this Christmas season and your Christmas services. Be fully prepared for all those that God brings to your church in this season – those who fall into the categories above, nd any other place they may be coming from. Make this Christmas more about all those who have not yet accepted this amazing gift than it is about us – because we already get to celebrate it with every waking breath.
Please let us know If there are any specific topics that you would like to have covered in a future edition. If you have any stories from engaging with Organic Outreach in your setting that you think would be valuable to share with others, please send those to us as well. Send your requests and ideas to Robin Maguire (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you know someone who might benefit from the information we bring you each month through this newsletter, please forward this on to them.
Our team at Organic Outreach International looks forward to serving you and your ministry to help reach those who are far from God.
For His Glory,
Walt Bennett, Executive Pastor, Organic Outreach International