Useful Outreach Principles
The days leading up to outreach are packed with excited anticipation, but sometimes anxiety can build as you get closer to stepping out in a strange place and meeting with people of a different culture. If you have worries and are nervous to go on this adventure, the following principles could be helpful in preparing yourself.
1. Teamwork always
In Mark 6:7, it is said that:
‘(Jesus) Calling the Twelve to Him, He began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.’
The reason Jesus sent the twelve disciples or even us out two by two, is because we have our own strengths and weaknesses. When in pairs, we can complement and help each other. As well, when we work as a team, the chance of being manipulated by people would be smaller, and safety and accountability become greater.
Therefore, one of the most important things that we need to pray for is unity within our team. It is very important to serve together with humility, be humble to ask for help and even offer a helping hand. Moreover, no pride or independence should be appearing in the team, as this will be an open gate for the enemy to destroy unity.
2. Reach people where they are at
The reason why we reach out to people is so they can come to know God and His love. In our outreach, we may meet children, youth and the elderly from all different walks of life. It is helpful to adjust our ways in discipling them according to culture, age group, and background (if this is known), so as to speak to them in a way that they would best understand. Before going on outreach, it’s beneficial to try to understand the characteristics and needs of different target groups. Then, think of some interesting and creative ways to approach them.
3. Be a real friend by stepping into people’s world
In three years of preaching, Jesus met a lot of people including tax collectors, the Samaritan woman, children and the centurion. He did not stay away from them. Instead, Jesus stepped into people’s (even sinners’) lives and became a friend to them, making them feel accepted and connected. Try to step into their world, to understand them and be their friend.
4. …But without entering into their sins
However, it is not necessary for us to sin with them. Jesus loved spending time with sinners. He knew their names, worries, and everything. Yet there was no compromise in Him. He did not enter into their sins but remained sinless. In the same way, we should relate ourselves with those we live and work with, without losing our integrity and fundamental commitment to God’s truth. We don’t have to share their beliefs and values, but we need to love them with understanding and respect. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus said:
‘Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.’
Let us step into people’s lives and be their friends with the wisdom that God has given us.
5. Get priorities right
God is relational and always wants to be with us. Our relationship with God should be the first priority. As we develop in intimacy with God, the relationships with our families and teammates also develop. As we get closer to each other, we actually gain the strength and inspiration to reach the nations and to share with people. In the Bible, Jesus taught us to be like Mary instead of Martha as she had chosen what is better – choosing to spend time with God, which is always the most important thing in our life.
6. Spiritual authority
Sometimes while on outreach, we face challenges and conflicts that our adversary the devil would try to throw our way. Therefore, we need to be prepared to take spiritual authority over evil.
The enemy is always watching what we are doing, looking for ways to destroy God’s work through our weaknesses. We need to refill our ‘spiritual tool box’ with the word of God and authority given by God so that when we really need to deal with spiritual matters, we can get the tools easily. These tools include love, humility, unity, and faith. Also, we need to pray hard for protection, both physically and spiritually.
In practicing these principles and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be joyful and courageous ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Be encouraged not to worry about outreach, but rather be proud to step out for God and His glory.