Evangelism is EVERYONE’S Job
As children, we sang these words: "I am the church! You are the church! We are the church TOGETHER!” Not much has changed in nearly fifty years since we first sang these lyrics reminding us, “The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple. The church is not a resting place; the church is a people.” We ARE the church, TOGETHER, still the same, today! We are not Grace the church - the building, we are Grace the church – the people. Going out of our way to tell others about Christ is not something we do FOR Jesus. He has been on His mission to save us since the fall of humankind; we are joining Him now to spread the Word.
“In the Beginning….” & The Great Commission
Christian outreach, witnessing, evangelism, call it what you wish, the task does not fall to one person or one branch of ministry. Evangelism is a privilege we ALL get to participate in, at Grace.
Christian outreach is not a trendy, new idea. Jesus gave us His Great Commission in Matthew 28, when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” It wasn’t just a fleeting thought; He commanded us ALL to spread His Gospel, not once-in-awhile, but every day. Jesus has been telling us what discipling is from the beginning. He showed us in the gospels; it is the process of teaching people of God how to participate in the mission of God on a daily basis.
He gave us further instruction with “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” What better reassurance could we have? Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not something we do on our own, and the Holy Spirit uses His Word to bring people to faith. We prioritize our schedule around discipling others.
Christian Outreach & Who We Are at Grace – Confessional Lutherans
We are mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Lutherans, founded on the teachings of Martin Luther. Part of our Christian outreach is helping each other grow and mature in faith through worship and the study of the Word of God. We encourage and equip each other so we can apply our faith, reflect on Christ’s love with lives of Christian service to the Lord, His Church, and His world. It is our wish to join Jesus Christ as He uses us to bring His Holy Word to all people; so we intentionally look for ways to share His Word.
Sowing Seeds, Fresh Fruit, and Bumper Crops
We talk about our faith and our Lord, but we can’t bring anyone to faith, we can only plant the seed. The Holy Spirit causes those seeds to grow through His Word and the Sacraments of our Lord's Supper and Holy Baptism. Plant the seed! The Holy Spirit will tell you when someone is “ripe” and ready to land in God’s hands. The Holy Spirit’s harvest satisfies a craving much more important than any human hunger. Will we see the fruit of our labor, or enjoy a bountiful harvest from the seeds which are sown? Perhaps not; we leave the outcome to God.
In this sense, the church does not need a new approach. Christ has always been with us; providing opportunities for us talk about our Savior, which open the doors for making disciples of all nations. Our goal is to love others in our lives the same way Christ loves us. "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19 It is our wish to create disciple-making, missional communities. We do this by reaching people, encouraging them to love and serve Jesus, and sending them to get in touch with, inspire, and teach others
We have various opportunities to become involved at Grace. These opportunities create new relationships, and these relationships open the door for new occasions to share Jesus’ Word. These days the way doors are opened by the Holy Spirit may be different than forty years ago. Perhaps, unfortunately, people are more likely to share a message on their smartphone with a "friend" wherever they are than a glass of lemonade with a neighbor on their front porch.
We may be tempted to think it isn't our job to step outside of the box and talk with a stranger; a homeless person, a person in a different economic bracket, a person with intellectual or physical disabilities, a person of another race, or a person with different religious beliefs. Christ reminds us we are asked to do much more for those people. "He laid down His life for us and calls us to do the same for our brothers." 1 John 3:16. Sounds drastic, doesn't it? It is. Loving others strengthens our relationships with each another and equips us all for better service to Christ.
Christian Outreach & BEYOND
Christ calls us to look beyond ourselves, beyond our church and beyond the walls of our church buildings. Jesus doesn't tell us "STAY. Tell." He says, "GO. Tell." At Grace, our goal is to go beyond ourselves. He commands us to GO and spread His Word to those BEYOND; whether it be in our neighborhood, community, country, or the world. Pastor Greg Finke says, “It’s easy to focus on ourselves “in here” and forget about the mission of God “out there.”
Some are called to preach. Some to teach. Some to be shepherds. Some to be carpenters. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10. And so we GO. We walk. We talk. We share. We serve. We spread Christ’s Word! It may be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood and silently praying as you walk by each home, or as impactful as inviting people across the street to come to your home for a backyard barbeque and when the Holy Spirit leads you, asking if you may pray with them.
Christian Outreach & Jesus’ Little Lambs - No Matter What Age
At Grace, our goal is to increase the Kingdom of God by inviting people of all ages into an active, personal relationship with Him. He loves all His children, of all ages, and longs to have a loving relationship with each of us. We minister to all generations: His little children, youth, adults, and those aging in Grace. Our worship, praising of Jesus, and our prayers are intergenerational.
Christian Outreach & Global Missions
Being a “mission”ary is not just for faraway countries. Each of us may not be equipped to serve in foreign lands, but EVERYONE is called to be a witness SOMEWHERE. It may be in our city, next door or even in our own homes with our own families. Don't be afraid, have conversations with pre-Christian friends. Talk with your family about their faith!
Christian Outreach & Sifting Sand
Time is a gift. Whether we keep track of the passing of time on a loved one’s pocket watch, our latest device; or by watching sand sift through a three-minute egg timer, or your fingers while at the beach, time is slipping away. Each of us is blessed with a finite number of seconds in our lives. As the poet Charles Studd wrote, "Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last."
When it comes to reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a LOT of work to do, and not a lot of TIME to do it. How will everyone know if we do not make time to tell them today? Freely we have received our faith by the grace of God; freely we should give. We are God’s broken vessels to be used as beautiful clay pots to serve Him. How will you step out of your comfort zone for Jesus today? "Salvation through Jesus only" is our message, and what a joy it is to share the news that because of Him, one day heaven will be our home. We await the day we see you face-to-face, Jesus!
Objective: Provide a foundational prayer ministry which is essential to our Christian Outreach at Grace.
Objective: Provide opportunities for ongoing theological education throughout the year. As part of our common confession of our Lord Jesus Christ, we work to become mutually encouraged by studying the Word of God and understanding theological matters of importance
Evangelism Training: Classes, Seminars, Conferences
Objective: Provide training for evangelism to equip us to carry out our Christian witness.
Objective: Build our congregation into one cohesive and Christ-centered unit.
Opportunities + Spiritual Gifts + Relationships = Overflowing
Objective: Provide opportunities to use spiritual gifts and develop relationships so more people will know Christ.
Grace’s Milestone Ministry
Objective: Milestone ministry is a way for us to celebrate the promises made to us, provide learning opportunities for families, and recommit ourselves as a congregation to nurture one another as the Body of Christ as we mark "milestones" in a person’s journey of faith.
New Member & Guest Assimilation
Objective: Provide means for new members and guests to become quickly assimilated and integrated into the parish so they may feel as much a part of our church family as longtime members.
Online Presence and Christian Outreach
Objective: Plan, develop, and create relevant and timely material for Grace’s church website. Provide member training so all members may easily access and engage interactively as we carry out the Great Commission together. Training session attendees will be given time to demonstrate understanding and mastery.
Objective: Create awareness of Grace Lutheran Church, our belief in Jesus Christ, the reasons we exist and all we have to offer our community.
Objective: Provide opportunities for child and parents to learn about Jesus and open up new opportunities for those with spiritual gifts in the areas of childhood to minister to Jesus’ precious souls.
Objective: Provide new opportunities for youth to learn to do evangelism, and open up new opportunities for those with spiritual gifts in the areas of youth ministry to encourage Jesus’ precious souls.
Objective: Provide planning and leadership for ethnic and specialized ministries at Grace Lutheran.
Experience the joy which comes when sharing a gospel witness! Our Evangelism & Chrisitan Outreach meetings are held on the Second Sunday after Second Service. ALL members and guests of Grace are invited to attend. We welcome your input!
Vanguard Group:The Rev. Marty L. Tyler
Co-Advocates: Debora L. Tyler, Melinda R. Patterson, Natalie C. Vincent, Judie Cordts, and Jayne M. Kettner
Check out our ministry plan: https://trello.com/b/YyA6OgjC/evangelism-ministry-plan