Sunday was a transformational day for our Family – we were blessed by Bob Schindler, and by Doug Cox, Dawna Brack, Quick Chadwick, and Terri Karam, opening our minds and hearts to reaching out to others to help them build a relationship with Jesus…in natural and comfortable…therefore effective and faithful…ways!
And our Family was blessed by your coming together for fellowship and conversation about what we learned and experienced. You could feel the excitement…
I cannot do justice to Bob’s message, or to your follow-up conversations – listen to Bob again on our website – but here is an overview.
What Everyone Needs to Know
The Dynamics of Organic Outreach
On Sunday, God opened our lives to three truths for reaching out to others for Jesus – God brings about effective outreach, not us; effective outreach is a process, not an event; God assigns and values different roles in the process, not just the last one. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)
- We know that Jesus calls/commands us to make disciples of all people, to offer his Abundant Life and Eternal Life to all people. But this call to be “evangelists” leaves many (most?) of us with feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, pressure, fear. What God wants, instead, is compassion, clarity, freedom, peace, joy!
- Paul shows how what God, and we, want can happen – lifting up three Truths for Organic Outreach – The 1st: God brings about effective outreach, not us! This is the truth that Paul lays out, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow…”
- It is not up to us to say the perfect words that “close the deal” for Jesus. For when we share the Gospel, invite someone to church, and they do not accept him or come, we feel like a failure. When, in fact, all we can do, all God expects us to do, is plant (develop relationships) and water (share The Truth), and leave to Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, to grow in their hearts a desire for him.
- Bob learned this over many painful years, as he talked regularly with his father about his need to accept Jesus as his Savior; his father responded that he was already a “good Christian,” because he was a “good person.” It was only after 30 plus years, when Bob finally, on his knees, confessed that he was powerless to lead his father to conversion, and turned him over to God, that his father began to see the light, started going to a church, and eventually confessed, “I am a sinful man; only Jesus can save me; I give my life to him!”
- This long-term time to change shows the need for the 2nd Truth for Organic Outreach: Effective Outreach is a process, not an event! An “event” is when someone gives their life to Jesus; what can happen at a Billy Graham Crusade…but Billy Graham himself says it takes at least 17 people to bring a person to that decision. Our calling is to be part of the process, which begins by developing relationships in our Spheres of Contact – where we live, work, and play…with people who may not be Christians.
- The challenge is that studies show that, within two years of conversion, the average Christian has no non-Christian friends; we stay in relationships where we feel comfortable. We need to step out beyond our Christian friends comfort zone and develop other relationships, and let Jesus work through us in natural ways…which may take years, and many others being part of the process along the way.
- This is what Bob experienced with a man he played golf with, who learned Bob was a Pastor (“That’s good for you; that church stuff is not for me”). Over time, the man asked life questions; Bob shared common sense comments, then gradually how the Bible and Jesus helped him and his family. After two years, another person invited him to go to a church (not Bob’s church)…Jesus did the rest…
- That experience shows the importance of the 3rd Truth for Organic Outreach: God assigns and values different roles in the process, not just the last one! Sometimes we cultivate, develop relationships that lead to someone being receptive to another who plants (shares the Truth); sometimes we plant where others have cultivated. When the time is right, Jesus will lead another to reap, help that person make a decision for Jesus.
- This Truth played out through Bob’s son, who invited a neighbor (living with his girlfriend for six years) to play softball with a friend; the man met others who eventually invited the couple to church; something moved in the man to decide to get married; this led the couple to a Pastor (Bob), who opened their lives to the Biblical truths for marriage; which opened their hearts to truths about challenges in their relationship they had never shared; which moved them to accept Jesus to save them and to bless their marriage.
- It took everyone in this process, each with distinctly different roles, equally valuable, following the lead of Jesus, over several years, for this life-saving decision…Bob just happened to be the “last one…” Without each person carrying out their role, there may not have been a “last one…”
Connection for the Week: Listen, listen again, to Bob’s Message; join your Small Group, any Small Group if you are not part of one; let our Elders lead you through the four sessions that blessed them so much; and pray each day for Jesus to lead you to someone where you live, work, and play to be part of his process in helping them move one step closer into a relationship with Jesus, and give and receive joy as you