Today’s church faces profound challenges within the broader culture: political correctness, postmodern relativism, religious pluralism. We live in a society full of unchurched people who don’t know the basic tenets of Christianity or the redemptive story the Scriptures tell. The church at large has a poor reputation among non-Christians. Many hold distorted views of Jesus, the gospel, and traditional Christian faith, so they are biased against us before we’ve had a chance to start a conversation.
Our ability to engage the world is also hampered by internal issues. Some Christians question the motives behind traditional outreach efforts, viewing them as a bait-and-switch. Many in our congregations seem reluctant to share the gospel, either claiming that evangelism isn’t their gift or hiding in fear of potential rejection.
In light of these challenges, how can our churches share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a dark world that desperately needs it?
Show: Reaching Out Through Love and Service
In recent years, a strategic shift has begun to take place from the programs and events of traditional outreach to more organic forms of cultural engagement. At the heart of this movement is a desire to heed Jesus’ command to go into the world.
Support Members on Mission
Pastor Eugene Cho says, “Our congregations are our greatest assets. Disciples, ambassadors, missionaries … God is doing amazing things in and through them already. The question is, ‘How can we come alongside them?'”
One way Cho’s Quest Church in Seattle does that is through their “Joining God’s Mission” initiative, which highlights one person or organization every Sunday. By supporting them with a $1,000 donation and communal prayer, they sow seeds into the rich soil of local outreach efforts and cast a vison of God’s mission to the congregation.
Imago Dei Community, led by pastor Rick McKinley, is doing something similar in Portland. They give missional grants to people in their congregation engaged in local initiatives. “We’re giving authority and responsibility to people in the public square,” says McKinley. “But more so, we’re empowering and unleashing them as we shepherd them in that process.” Not only does Imago Dei’s leadership surround them with relevant expertise, but it also calls their people to join in the work, tackling issues such as sex trafficking and foster care.
With “Change for a Dollar,” Imago Dei makes the change collected in their offering available to members who want to meet needs outside of their church community. A member recently used $1,000 to keep a neighbor from being evicted.