Go beyond thinking about outreach - go do it
It's easy to talk, plan, think and pray, but what about action? Gary Gibbs challenges us to execute our God-given dreams.
One hot, sunny day, five frogs were sitting on a branch overhanging a large pond. Eventually, four of the frogs decided to jump into the pond. Question: how many were left on the branch?
If your answer was ‘one’ that would be understandable, but the correct answer is five. The reason is that the four frogs made a decision but did nothing about it.
It’s been occurring to me afresh lately that many of us, myself included, can come to all sorts of decisions and conclusions about how we should live our lives and yet fail to move to action.
Jesus told the parable about two different people who built property on contrasting foundations. Listen again to what he said:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7: 24, 25
Both the wise man and the foolish man heard the words of Jesus: what differentiated them was that the first guy did what Jesus said. What this suggests to me is that the Lord is not only concerned with our orthodoxy (what we believe) but he is just as bothered about our orthopraxy (what we do!).
Jesus’ brother James makes the same point:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do .” James 1:22 – 25
In terms of reaching out to lost people, there are a couple of particular applications I want to make this month.
First of all in the area of church planting. If you are in leadership in an Elim church, it’s likely that you will never feel ready or that it’s ‘the right time’ to plant out another congregation, campus, site, missional community.
Now, of course, there is the timing of God to consider, but more often we are held back and procrastinate because of issues to do with spiritual warfare. The enemy of our souls would much rather we stay as we are rather than set out to pioneer with the Gospel. I believe there needs to be an intentional culture in our churches which causes us to start moving forwards and outwards.
Secondly, when it comes to sharing the Gospel one-on-one with others, we must become more proactive in speaking about Jesus to our friends, neighbours, work colleagues etc and encouraging them to find out more about following him. When our lifestyle and our words come together, people will be more ready to hear our Good News stories.
So let’s be clear: when it comes to reaching those who are far away from God…
Doing it is doing it.
Thinking about it is not doing it
Praying about it is not doing it
Planning is not doing it
Being trained is not doing it
Doing it is doing it!
In the words of the famous inventor, Thomas Edison, “Vision without execution is merely hallucination.” If we do what we see, we will eventually see what we have done!