Christian Outreach Quotes

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Why do the greatest miracle stories seem to come from mission fields, either overseas or among the destitute here at home (the Teen Challenge outreach to drug addicts, for example)? Because the need is there. Christians are taking their sound doctrine and extending it to lives in chaos, which is what God has called us all to do. Without this extension of compassion it is all too easy for Bible teachers and authors to grow haughty. We become proud of what we know. We are so impressed with our doctrinal orderliness that we become intellectually arrogant. We have the rules and theories all figured out while the rest of the world is befuddled and confused about God’s truth … poor souls.
Jim Cymbala (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire)
Excess wealth leads to power, Woolman says, which tends to lead to the abuse of power, which ultimately leads to war.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
.....I felt other Christian charities and ministries of compassion were wrong in showing the love of Christ. No, many were doing a wonderful job. But I felt the local church should be the center for outreach, and we needed to bring the balance back.
K.P. Yohannan (Revolution in World Missions)
But there is a more catholic understanding of the term apostolic: it means missional. The apostles were those called together to learn (as disciples) so they could be sent out on a mission (which is what both the Greek root for apostle and the Latin root for mission mean). From this vantage point, disciples are apostles-in-training; Christian discipleship (or spiritual formation ) is training for apostleship, training for mission. From this understanding we place less emphasis on whose lineage, rites, doctrines, structures, and terminology are right and more emphasis on whose actions, service, outreach, kindness, and effectiveness are good.
Brian D. McLaren (A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian)
Evangelism is intrinsically relational, the outcome of love of neighbor, for to love our neighbor is to share the love of God holistically. The proper context for evangelism is authentic Christian community, where the expression of loving community is the greatest apologetic for the gospel. Holiness—being given to God and God’s mission in this world—is a way of life that is expressly concerned with evangelism.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
Christian mysticism is about the holy transformation of the mystic by God, so that the mystic becomes instrumental in the holy transformation of God’s people. This transformation always results in missional action in the world. The idea that mysticism is private and removed from the rugged world of ministry is simply false. All the Old Testament prophets were mystics. Their visions, dreams, and other experiences of God were for the express purpose of calling God’s people back to their missional vocation.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
When we believe in and experience love as God’s meaning, love becomes our meaning, for we become like the God we worship.68 When love becomes our meaning, the ramifications for evangelism are immense. We are cleansed of legalism, judgmentalism, coercion, and exploitation. We are liberated so that we can now see the “total fact” of others, which is so much more than their guilt and sin, or their wounds. This is not a sentimental, soft love. It is a tungsten power that respects others, says “no” to injustice, and unflinchingly involves itself in the muck and mire of broken lives. We can love in this way only because God first loves us.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
How does a mission of outreach and support to immigrant communities square with the repressive politics of the region? In a way, it’s the guiding question of this book—how can a nation that professes to be majority Christian become a breeding ground for hate? How can Evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham preach purity for women from the pulpit and still support as president a man who brags about grabbing women by the pussy? How can people who have seen me spend my whole life struggling to live and practice my faith call me godless? How can a message of peace and unity bring so much pain and loss and destruction? When I ask what is happening to our churches, what I really want to know is what is happening to our souls?
Lyz Lenz (God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America)
Everything we do and say will either underline or undermine our discipleship process. As long as there is one unsaved person on my campus or in my city, then my church is not big enough. One of the underlying principles of our discipleship strategy is that every believer can and should make disciples. When a discipleship process fails, many times the fatal flaw is that the definition of discipleship is either unclear, unbiblical, or not commonly shared by the leadership team. Write down what you love to do most, and then go do it with unbelievers. Whatever you love to do, turn it into an outreach. You have to formulate a system that is appropriate for your cultural setting. Writing your own program for making disciples takes time, prayer, and some trial and error—just as it did with us. Learn and incorporate ideas from other churches around the world, but only after modification to make sure the strategies make sense in our culture and community. Culture is changing so quickly that staying relevant requires our constant attention. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by focusing on the mechanics of our own efforts rather than our culture, we will become irrelevant almost overnight. The easiest and most common way to fail at discipleship is to import a model or copy a method that worked somewhere else without first understanding the values that create a healthy discipleship culture. Principles and process are much more important than material, models, and methods. The church is an organization that exists for its nonmembers. Christianity does not promise a storm-free life. However, if we build our lives on biblical foundations, the storms of life will not destroy us. We cannot have lives that are storm-free, but we can become storm-proof. Just as we have to figure out the most effective way to engage our community for Christ, we also have to figure out the most effective way to establish spiritual foundations in each unique context. There is really only one biblical foundation we can build our lives on, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors, teachers, and church staff believe their primary role is to serve as mentors. Their task is to equip every believer for the work of the ministry. It is not to do all the ministry, but to equip all the people to do it. Their top priority is to equip disciples to do ministry and to make disciples. Do you spend more time ministering to people or preparing people to minister? No matter what your church responsibilities are, you can prepare others for the same ministry. Insecurity in leadership is a deadly thing that will destroy any organization. It drives pastors and presidents to defensive positions, protecting their authority or exercising it simply to show who is the boss. Disciple-making is a process that systematically moves people toward Christ and spiritual maturity; it is not a bunch of randomly disconnected church activities. In the context of church leadership, one of the greatest and most important applications of faith is to trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through those you are leading. Without confidence that the Holy Spirit is in control, there is no empowering, no shared leadership, and, as a consequence, no multiplication.
Steve Murrell (WikiChurch: Making Discipleship Engaging, Empowering, and Viral)
The church in the night is being called to own and renounce its threefold syncretistic attachment to sexism, racism, and classism. These attachments have wounded the church and have caused the church to wound the world for far too long. Painful self-reflection, repentance, and much theological work are needed to retrieve the egalitarian ethos of the gospel. As the church is healed from this damaging threefold wound, it will regain the moral authority it needs to speak to a world hurtling toward chaos. Delivered of its demonic attachment to oppressive power, the church will find its God-given conscience toward all living things that have suffered under the centripetal force of domination. The earth and all its creatures will once again become primary foci of the good news, that God is redeeming not just fallen humans but the whole of creation.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
Holiness is a Godward posture, a complete belonging to God, a full commitment to the reign of God in this world, being set apart. Yet holiness is not a denial of one’s own humanity. Nor is holiness a matter of “purifying” oneself by removing oneself from the muck and mire of actual life. On the contrary, the holy life is one that is fully engaged in this world in the name and power of Jesus Christ. As the lives of so many great saints and mystics demonstrate, the more one advances in the way of holiness, the more one must wrestle with “powers and principalities,” for the same evil that opposed Jesus opposes those who live in the power of his name. Suffering of all kinds seems to mark the paths of many of the great saints and mystics, through illness, rejection at the hands of loved ones, persecution, and loss. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. It is precisely in the midst of such adversity that these holy ones become testaments of divine love.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The Heart of Christian Ministry—The heart of Christian ministry is Christ’s ministry of outreaching love.
United Methodist Church (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2012)
A church that truly understands the implications of the biblical gospel, letting the “word of Christ dwell in [it] richly” (Col 3:16), will look like an unusual hybrid of various church forms and stereotypes. Because of the inside-out, substitutionary atonement aspect, the church will place great emphasis on personal conversion, experiential grace renewal, evangelism, outreach, and church planting. This makes it look like an evangelical-charismatic church. Because of the upside-down, kingdom/incarnation aspect, the church will place great emphasis on deep community, cell groups or house churches, radical giving and sharing of resources, spiritual disciplines, racial reconciliation, and living with the poor. This makes it look like an Anabaptist “peace” church. Because of the forward-back, kingdom/restoration aspect, the church will place great emphasis on seeking the welfare of the city, neighborhood and civic involvement, cultural engagement, and training people to work in “secular” vocations out of a Christian worldview. This makes it look like a mainline church or, perhaps, a Kuyperian Reformed church. Very few churches, denominations, or movements integrate all of these ministries and emphases. Yet I believe that a comprehensive view of the biblical gospel — one that grasps the gospel’s inside-out, upside-down, and forward-back aspects — will champion and cultivate them all. This is what we mean by a Center Church.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
Could it be that our dynamic and “non-threatening” evangelistic events at church have had the unintended consequence of Christian families and Christian individuals not being evangelistic in their own homes and neighborhoods? The evangelistic call to the Christian has changed from “Invite your neighbors into your home. Share your life with them. Pray for God to give you an opportunity to share the Gospel” to “We have an incredible outreach event here at church next month. Pray about who you can invite to church so they can hear the gospel from our special speaker.” Is it possible that the more pastors and church leaders focus on running outreach events at church, the less Christians share their faith in their neighborhoods and workplaces?
Rob Rienow (Limited Church: Unlimited Kingdom)
In short, we need to learn how to participate from a platform of servanthood rather than power. Let me illustrate. In my fifteen years as a global outreach pastor, I observed two types of North American ministries doing global ministry. The first ministry came together, often in North America, and prayerfully asked God for vision for (as a random example) Argentina and how they should initiate their work in Argentina. After developing their vision, they would go to Argentina to recruit Argentine Christians to join their vision. The recruitment would go something like this: "Jorge, this is our vision for Argentina. Would you join us and help us fulfill our vision-what we believe to be God's vision-for Argentina?" Often Jorge would say yes, especially if the North American mission came fully funded and offered him a decent salary. The second ministry might also develop a burden for a specific country (let's stick with Argentina), but when they went and visited Jorge, their approach was different. They would say, "Jorge, we believe that God has given us a burden for Argentina, but we're here to serve. What is your vision for Argentina? And is there anything in our experiences or resources that you could use to fulfill your vision for your country?" Both ministry approaches could have some success, but the former kept the North Americans on the platform of leadership, often dictating the strategy and funding the vision to the point that local leaders became dependent and failed to look for local, indigenous sources of support. This approach could work, especially if it was well funded. But for leaders like Jorge, it was an outsider's plan imposed on his country. After the funding was gone, these ministries often faltered.
Paul Borthwick (Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church?)
For Bill and Judy, obedience to the Great Commission means outreach to international students: providing hospitality to them and looking for ways to serve. For Sarah, it means joining forces with the "Not for Sale" movement to help liberate people from human trafficking so that they might experience God's love. For Trevor, it means using his science skills to work for the eradication of malaria in Togo, West Africa. For some Filipina maids, it means following Jesus into Saudi Arabia as domestic servants so that they can share God's love with Saudi families. For Jeff and Judy, it means using computer skills and literacy training to touch the people and the nation of Chad. For Uchenna and Dolapo, it means joining a Nigerian mission agency that enabled them to move to North Africa as community developers. The common thread is this: God's people, relying on God's power and presence, go out and look for opportunities to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus to all peoples everywhere.
Paul Borthwick (Western Christians in Global Mission: What's the Role of the North American Church?)
But what about mysticism and ecstatic experiences? The word “ecstasy” comes from the Greek word ekstasis, which means to go out from (ek) a standing or “static” position (stasis). Authentic Christian ecstatic experiences are God-initiated movements of the Holy Spirit that lead Christians beyond themselves to greater identification with God and God’s mission in the world. Genuine ecstatic experiences always propel the Christian (and the church) into mission.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
In this respect, I think it is important to own up to the fact that perhaps some of our worship habits are a missed opportunity; that we fail to draw on the formative riches of the tradition and thereby shut down channels for the Spirit’s work. I think we need to be honest that Christians in North America (and elsewhere) have perhaps developed some bad habits in this regard. We may have construed worship as a primarily didactic, cognitive affair and thus organized it around a message that fails to reach our embodied hearts, and thus fails to touch our desire. Or we may have construed worship as a refueling event—a chance primarily to get what I “need” to make it through the week (perhaps with a top-up on Wednesday night), with the result that worship is more about me than about God, more about individual fulfillment than about the constitution of a people. Or we may have reduced gathered worship to evangelism and outreach, pushing us to drop some of the stranger elements of liturgy in order to be relevant and accessible. In all these cases, we’ll notice that some key elements of the church’s liturgical tradition drop out. Key historical practices are left behind. While we might be inclined to think of this as a way to update worship and make it contemporary, my concern is that in the process we lose key aspects of formation and discipleship. In particular, we lose precisely those worship practices that function as counter-formations to the liturgies of the mall, the stadium, and the frat house. We also lose a sense that worship is the “work of the people”—that the “work of praise” is something we can only do as a people who are an eschatological foretaste of the coming kingdom of God. In short, we lose the sense in which Christian worship is also political: it marks us out as and trains us to be a peculiar people who are citizens of another city and subjects of a coming King.
James K.A. Smith (Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation)
There are other effective programs, too. Of the faith-based journeys offered, Youth with a Mission’s Discipleship Training School is perhaps the most established. It’s a six-month experience divided into two parts. Initially, students spend three months in the classroom. Then they spend the second half of the program doing outreach internationally. There are countless other opportunities involving kingdom journey missions and travel. Some people serve full-time missionaries in a country to which they feel called. Others join a monastery for a season. Some go on a series of short-term trips, or intern with a development organization, such as Food for the Hungry. There are, of course, non-Christian opportunities that may be worth considering, Inter Exchange and Go Abroad, for example.
Seth Barnes (Kingdom Journeys: Rediscovering the Lost Spiritual Discipline)
It cannot be denied that as institutions, churches do good work. They operate schools and hospitals. Their charity outreaches, which take care of the homeless, sick, and hungry, have real impacts on communities. And while there are certainly hellfire-and-brimstone preachers around, there is counterweight in Presbyterian and Methodist ministers, who are grounded in a modicum of rationality, using Biblical stories as fables to teach psychological and ethical principles.
Gudjon Bergmann (More Likely to Quote Star Wars than the Bible: Generation X and Our Frustrating Search for Rational Spirituality)
Now more than ever, when so many pastors measure their success in numbers, buildings, and budgets, the church is starving for holy leadership. This kind of holiness offers a witness that doctrinal arguments will never provide. It is an evangelistic beacon that exposes, judges, and rejects all the false, exploitive, and manipulative forms of evangelism that have blighted the name of God’s church. Holiness of heart and life is the language that proclaims the good news to every culture in all times.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The Christian’s vocation, according to Woolman, is to liberate people, animals, and the earth from oppression in whatever form it presents itself. “To labour for a perfect redemption from this spirit of oppression is the greatest business of the whole family of Christ Jesus in this world.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The primary business of Christians, according to Woolman, is to “turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of universal love.” Since the Creator’s will is to watch over all creation with love and mercy, the more holy one becomes, the more one will exercise the gracious love of God for creation.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
To labour for an establishment in divine love where the mind is disentangled from the power of darkness is the great business of man’s life.”39 Left to our own devices, we are sinfully given to hoarding up wealth for ourselves and our descendants. If we used our resources with “pure wisdom” according to the will of God, Woolman writes, there would be enough to go around for everyone. The gospel, when truly lived, is enough.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The unholy alliance of science, technology, and industry has given birth to monstrous offspring that threaten the very future of the planet. From factory farming to the harvesting of human eggs, commodified science and technology comes with a utilitarian ethic. Life is cheap. Forests, animals, and people are raw materials. Everyone and everything is expendable.50 Whatever brings the greatest profit is worth the violence. God is calling the church in the night to retrieve the meaning of stewardship first and foremost as caring for the earth.51 Evangelism is not good news until it is good news for all of creation, for humanity, animals, plants, water, and soil, for the earth that God created and called good.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The early Methodist societies were in many ways semimonastic communities for ordinary lay people. The emphasis was on holiness of heart and life, a combination of personal piety and social activism, which was essentially a posture of kenosis. Methodism became the largest Christian movement in North America by the mid-nineteenth century because of the power of its class and band meetings to form Christian disciples. Class and band leaders were unpaid laity. Many holiness Methodists were unpaid lay leaders whose social justice advocacy reformed American culture. Palmer, for example, never received payment for her ministry, not even for travel expenses. This was a historic Methodist model of kenosis.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
What if we looked at our world as Julian learned to, “with pity and not with blame”? What if we heard God’s call to evangelize out of love instead of fear, hope instead of judgment? What if we saw sin for the complex mixture it is, grounded in wounds and unmet needs? What if we automatically tried to see the “total fact” of others? In short, what would it mean to read our world with a hermeneutic of love?
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The hermeneutic of love is grounded in the belief that Jesus really does live in the people around us, that Jesus thirsts in our actual neighbors. Jesus is bound with eternal love to every person I encounter. This is the starting point. When I see people that way, everything changes. How I evangelize changes. My ecclesiology changes. Now I see people already being called by the Holy Spirit, already being loved and known by Jesus before I ever meet them. Now I understand that prayer and friendship are the foundation for my relationships with others, in the name of Jesus.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
Balthasar describes the life of discipleship as one of walking toward the eschaton, which “always involves taking along the world. Christ himself walked only in communion with others.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
Rather, Paul's whole argument is that the attractive lifestyle of the small Christian communities gives credibility to the missionary outreach in which he and his fellow-workers are involved. The primary responsibility of “ordinary” Christians is not to go out and preach, but to support the mission project through their appealing conduct and by making “outsides” feel welcome in their midst.
David J. Bosch (Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (American Society of Missiology Book 16))
The nineteenth-century impetus for the right of women to preach and other women’s rights came in large part from holiness pneu-matology, such as that of Phoebe Palmer and Julia Foote. The argument for gender and racial equality came from a careful reading and critical exegesis of Scripture. Since the Holy Spirit had been given to all people, with Acts 2 describing sons and daughters, old and young alike receiving gifts for public ministry, all people were equally worthy in the eyes of God. The Holy Spirit, not men and not religious institutions, determines the distribution of spiritual gifts.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The church is harassed and helpless, in need of pastors who will live and move and have their being in what Kelly called the Infinite Center.43 But the pastor is often the most torn-to-pieces of all, frenetic, striving, trying to be all things to all people, timidly avoiding conflict or angrily stirring it up, restless and unhappy, living a surface life. Many pastors have told me they rarely ever pray. There simply isn’t time, they say, their eyes betraying the hunger of their souls. Their inner world is one that Kelly called a “whole committee of selves,” each clamoring for its own mutinous demands.44 The one thing necessary is a Divine Center, calling the scattered self into an integrated whole.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
The dark night brings about a necessary detachment so that God’s people may freely love all things in and through the love of God rather than in and of themselves. Religious activities, rituals, and practices especially are cleansed so that they are now, in the oft-quoted imagery of Thomas Merton, fingers pointing to the moon and no longer mistaken for the moon itself. The fruit of the night is about the transformation of relationships into expressions of love of God and neighbor, and love of self for the sake of God.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)
But the history of God’s people is a history of life cycles, a history of clarity about call and identity, followed by complacence, followed by collusion with the powers, followed by catastrophic loss. Contrary to being a disaster, the exilic experiences of loss and marginalization are what are needed to restore the church to its evangelistic place. On the margins of society the church will once again find its God-given voice to speak to the dominant culture in subversive ways, resisting the powers and principalities, standing against the seduction of the status quo. The church will once again become a prophetic, evangelistic, alternative community, offering to the world a model of life that is radically “other,” life-giving, loving, healing, liberating. This kind of community is not possible for the church of Christendom.
Elaine A. Heath (The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach)