Picking up some great lessons in the realm of outreach lately.
- Diligence. The race isn’t to the fastest or the most impressive initially, but to the one who hangs in there for the long haul. I am impressed that we have seen some great things happen in the area of outreach – as people are being touched they are opening up – we are mentoring the community in civility it seems. I am impressed that we are able to turn on the faucets and see people respond.
- Indomitable spirit. We need to have a willingness to hang in there no matter how rough the going gets. I am convinced we are going to see God show up in a stellar way as we just continue to persevere. What is the goal of all of this? Isn’t it to fall in love with others who are different than us? I think so. I can’t fall in love with the people of the city unless I am around them on a regular basis – unless God mentors me in these things. I am going to warm up to them – I am going to turn on the rocket boosters of this machine in order to get around the people who are desperately seeking Jesus. They might not know they are desperately seeking Jesus quite yet, but that’s okay. I am going to hang around them until they get it.
- Recycle lessons learned. I am seeing that the lessons I learned a time ago – a season or two ago – are still timely. God is able to resurrect those lessons into my daily life so I am able to pick up on the lessons learned. As Wimber used to say, “Old marching orders are good marching orders.” What I started out to do some time ago still works. Those insights are good, pleasant, helpful – I will persevere in following those out.
- Emphasize obedience. It all starts with us humbling ourselves and going back to the things that Jesus spoke to us to begin with. Unless we obey his call – unless we walk out his words to us – we will not get very far. I am convinced he is calling us on a big scale to do similar things. I hear people tell me all the time that they have been called by God to serve their community. I also hear many tell me they have gotten off track in the original calling – they have fallen into building facilities, into strategizing budgets, into the notion of building facilities in the belief people will automatically gather. I don’t buy the idea that we are okay with the erecting of facilities at the expense of dropping outreach efforts. We are all about outreaching on a perpetual basis if we take the model of scripture seriously. Unfortunately many have been able to get by with that schedule – with the idea that as they serve a little or not at all. God operates on the basis of serving, outreaching = forward progress. God don’t let us see surface progress and confuse that with your God given momentum. I like the heart of Catherine Booth of the early days of the Salvation Army fame–she said that Jesus never called us to build and simply gather – rather he calls us to outreach and aim beyond as we gather the hurting, the impaired, the discouraged.