Episode 024 - Outreach Inspiration (Even For the Untalented)
Hello and welcome back to TheBLAST Podcast, where we seek to inspire and challenge all Christians, especially those within the Christian Fellowship Ministries.
As many of our listeners know, we have been asked repeatedly to do an episode regarding outreach ideas specifically for those who are not musically talented. Well, this is it! We sure hope it's a blessing to you.
We begin by discussing outreach itself; how the idea of reaching out is built-in to our human DNA in this regard - if you love something, you will talk about it. Whether it be our favorite car, sports team or food, we love to share our passions with others. We also discuss some of the biblical foundations for outreach, such as: Jesus meeting the woman at the well, feeding the 5,000 (and the 4,000), the Day of Pentecost in Acts Ch. 2, and the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys. The analogy that Jesus uses is a very fitting one - fishing.
Our fellowship is one that is built on evangelism. If you have been in any CFM church for more than a few months you have likely heard some of the stories of the ways that the fellowship started - outdoor movies, healing crusades, concerts, door-to-door evangelism and street preaching. From its inception our churches have been active outside the "four walls." Outreach is in our blood.
We take a quick break and enjoy some Matthew West with his great song, Do Something...
While we encourage every pastor and disciple to try anything and everything (within reason) to try to win the lost, herein lies the problem. Because our fellowship is known for things like concerts, movie nights and healing crusades, we often put our trust in events rather than in God's ability to draw people regardless of the venue. While we should be creative, trying anything this side of Heaven to win the lost, we know that pastors (especially new and pioneering pastors) run into the mentality of "but I'm so small" or "but I'm not musical." You don't have access to the kinds of funds your mother church has. And you can't sing like Ernie Toppin or Alvin Smith. You don't have a band. In other words, "I CAN'T DRAW A CROWD." Let us take this opportunity to assure you - you're right. You can't... But God can.
The early church in the Book of Acts never, and we stress NEVER scheduled events to draw crowds. That being said it should be obvious that they were not counting on their own musical talents to draw crowds. Instead, what they did was go to where the people were and reach out to them. Think of Paul on Mars Hill. Think of Peter seizing the opportunity to preach to the crowds of thousands resulting in the church as we know it being birthed. Yet, even so, we can't deny that there is a certain pressure that pastors feel to create a huge event that will captivate people; an event that will consume vast amounts of resources, time and, of course, talent.
May we suggest instead that you forego attempting to draw a crowd, instead go and find the crowd. Bring the event to them. The event does not need to have a live musical act. In fact, it may be even better if it doesn't. One of our observations is that live bands simply don't have the draw that they used to have. We recently had an outstanding band come from another church to perform in our concert scene. We decided to move the event outside, setting up the stage in our parking lot. Guess what - not one visitor. That is NOT a reflection on the band - they were terrific. However, we must note that people from our church who were at the event watched a few people pass by on foot and nobody engaged them. Why? Granted, some of us were busy performing or helping with the concert. But as for the rest of us, it's because of our tendency to depend on the event to draw the people rather than stepping out in faith and personally speaking to them. What would the early church disciples have done? Probably approached the passersby.
On the other hand, we recently began doing neighborhood BBQ/movie nights. For these we use someone's house rather than the church building. We have a "meet & greet", give out free hot dogs, chips, drinks, show a film and pull an altar call. Pastor Adam hosted the first one, Dave hosted the second one. The effect was the exact opposite of the aforementioned concert - visitors galore! We were able to meet, feed and witness to our very own neighbors. Maybe the food had the effect of drawing people, but more than likely it was the personal touch. We were introducing ourselves to our neighbors. Many of the neighbors we spoke with said the same thing: "We used to have someone in this neighborhood who did what you are doing. The neighborhood was so much better, so much closer back then." It was as if they were longing for someone to bring the gospel to them. As a result of these BBQ's three people prayed for salvation and several have come to services afterwards.
Aside from your neighborhood most cities have events that cause people to naturally gather. For example, our city has an Oceanfront which attracts tens if not hundreds of thousands during the spring and summer months. In Chandler, AZ (where our mother church is located) they have something called the Ostrich Festival and, again, thousands of people gather. So, what would the early church have done with opportunities like these? Put together a band try to get a venue going? Not likely. They probably would have gone to where the people were, preached to them and personally witnessed to them. THAT is what you should do.
So, if you are not musically talented you may very well be at an advantage over those of us who are. This is not to say that you can't still try to schedule a concert. There are plenty of people who will testify of being saved during concert scenes. But, it might be better for you if you go to where they are and witness/preach to them. Or simply invite people to your house, cook them some hot dogs and witness/preach to them. A movie screen & a projector are good assets as well, but don't depend on the movie to draw the people. Set the screen up on your front lawn, or in the common area of your apartment complex and the go tell everyone what you're doing and why. Even if no one shows up to the movie itself you have at met all or most of your neighbors and established somewhat of a relationship with them.
Also, schedule impact teams from other churches. Ask them to help you outreach, even if you don't schedule an event such as a concert with them. Or try doing your own healing crusade. It does not need to be fancy. Simply pass out some fliers, or send out a Facebook ad. Then take a microphone and a small speaker into a public place. Deliver a short message then, make a call for any takers to get prayed for.
Just remember two things: First, do not be discouraged; just because no one prayed doesn't mean God didn't move. Second, there is NOTHING more effective than a one-to-one (or two-to-one) witness.
As we wrap up the episode we discuss a few ideas for future recurring segments. We also ask for your feedback - what kinds of things would you like to hear?
Until next time, Godspeed!