As you can see, my pace of producing blog posts has slowed. They will no longer come weekly but weakly, as in when I have an idea to share, rather than because the calendar says.

My thoughts last week moved to the question of inreach (connecting within the existing church) and outreach (connecting outside the church) again. I’ve learned that churches in Southern Alberta seem to not separate those two mandates. So the outreach or evangelism (bringing the gospel to people who don’t know it yet) team is responsible for organizing coffee serving and other fellowship functions in the church. I consider those inreach, not outreach. Other churches organize events which the community is invited to join. Some do a film night, for instance, or some kind of food event. That is closer to outreach, in that it attempts to make a connection with neighbours. But it is not really evangelism, though it may hope to get to that.¬†All three: inreach, outreach and Evangelism, have a purpose in the church. I just don’t like confusing them.

Some churches have found it most effective to put relationship with neighbours as the top priority over against the thought so many of us have of putting more bodies in the pews by our outreach and evangelism efforts. Bodies in the pew are good, but that is not a Kingdom mission, bringing people who do not know God properly into relationship with the one true God of the Bible is. People will sense when you are more interested in turning them into a contributing member of your church than you are introducing them to the God you love and serve. And your sales pitch will not have good effectiveness.

So in Alberta a cutting edge movement is being tried. You can learn about it from a webinar on the CRC Network. It is a major change in approach, a change that came from adaptive thinking, created by people who saw that the way we have been trying to do evangelism was not very effective. We have been waiting in our churches for people to find us. This method goes out to them and meets them where they are:

http://network.crcna.org/community-engagement/7-reasons-live-among-and-your-neighbourhood

Between this webinar and two Sundays ago a buddy from Nanaimo and I having a chat which reminded me of the Men’s Bible Study I was part of there, a study group unlike any church group I’ve ever been part of, I also remembered this story, which is on my other blog. It shows how it is about connection, not church. The church can serve the connection, but is not the connector:

http://pastorpete.wordpress.com/lifelessons/homeless-by-choice-george-holecz-and-his-journey-home/

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