Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Goals of Outreach and Evangelism

 The Goals of Outreach and Evangelism
by Michael Kinsey

When Fr. Kevin asked me to write each month for the church's blog I felt quite honored.  Never had I thought anyone would ask me to write about such a weighty topic as outreach and evangelism.  I took one week to ask myself about outreach and evangelism and what they are, by definition.  After a week I realized that I could not come up with an adequate definition that satisfied the convergent nature of our communion.  So instead I decided to focus on the goals of outreach and evangelism.  I would like to share my findings with you in the first installment of “O and E in St. P's CEC.”

Outreach.  Staying true to my previous intent I will define the goal of outreach, instead of outreach itself.  Since outreach can be done in different ways depending on the character of the congregation doing it, it makes more sense to focus our attentions elsewhere for the time being, such as on the intention of outreach.

The goal of outreach is to actively and intentionally pursue people who are outside of the Christian faith with the purpose of bringing them into communion with the Church so that they might be evangelized.
Since each congregation has a different character (and by no means am I an expert on identifying that character), defining the specifics of what outreach is can create voids in coverage for people who really need the love of Jesus Christ

For instance, a communion with an emphasis on reaching out to struggling families will intentionally find people to reach out to who are suffering deeply because of their family circumstances.  While this is admirable and necessary in any effective outreach attempt, if it becomes the end all be all of outreach there are several demographics of people which are still being missed.  For the communion of believers whose emphasis is on attracting younger people only, the older generations already within the communion can oftentimes feel neglected and unable to minister to newcomers. Outreach must have the goal of reaching out to anyone who will listen, regardless of age, race, orientation or social circumstance.  Jesus is for everyone.

Evangelism.  The goal of evangelism is three fold:

(1) To see more individuals connect to the Ancient Church through the attending of worship services at St. Patrick's CEC;

(2) To see more individuals saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and in relationship with Him; and

(3) to see more individuals given to the ministry of the Church and using their Holy Spirit-given gifts in that ministry. 

These goals in evangelism fulfill the broader vision of the CEC, that is, to converge the sacramental-liturgical, evangelical and charismatic flows of Christianity.  How can anyone experience the sacramental or liturgical richness of Christ without being present during the worship service?  It is necessary therefore to express the desire to see our communion grow numerically so that the sacraments can be duly administered and the liturgy being faithfully heard. 

The evangelical goal of evangelism
is witness more people come to Christ through faith in Him.  If we come to church and no one experiences the living Christ then what good is church? 

Likewise, the charismatic goal of evangelism is to allow individuals to use their gifts to minister to the flock as the priesthood of all believers.  If we do not have gifts (or fruits) then what good can we do one for another in ministry? 

The way which we do outreach must be done in a way that is influenced by evangelism.   How can we bring the convergent Church to the masses in a way that will both attract and educate them, perhaps enough to begin wondering, “what makes St. Patrick's so different?” 

This is the question with which I will leave you; since you are such an integral part of this communion, how can you reach out to someone with the intent of seeing them come to church, know Jesus personally and minister to them with the gifts you have received?

Stay tuned for next month's “O and E in St. P's CEC”

Michael Kinsey is a seminarian pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at
Northeastern Seminary At Roberts Wesleyan College.  He attends St. Patrick's CEC. 


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