By Cynthia Khan | September 15, 2019
There has been a huge shift in outreach strategies as the demographics have changed in almost all major U.S. cities. We receive calls from churches all over the US commenting on how local demographics have changed; so church members need training and tools of how to reach the internationals who are now their new American neighbors.
Here are some practical ways to approach new dynamics in missions:
1. Make outreach to your neighbors, friends, and co-workers part of your life, and not as a legalistic obligation. Most church members, especially those in the millennial generation, refuse to participate in something unless they know the reason behind it. Because of their ages, they could make a huge impact in schools and workplaces and on college campuses.
2. Share your passion and excitement for outreach in membership classes. Help new members understand the expectations and responsibilities of members when they become part of the church. Give them options for involvement in a variety of outreach programs.
3. Many outreach programs do not feel natural. The best way to share the love of Christ is through the natural overflow of our love for Him. POBLO’s outreach ministries teach how to channel that overflow.
4. An outreach program is usually perceived as ministry for the few. Provide many outreach options so the majority of members cannot say, “it’s someone else’s ministry.” The Great Commission does not offer different options – it’s a given for every Christian.
5. Sharing the love of Christ is a vital part of spiritual growth. It can happen in so many different ways. It’s not a checklist or an obligation at church. Make it a joyful act!
6. Let’s make “connecting and interacting” with people around us something which happens on a daily basis. Sometimes we think if we are serving IN the church, we don’t have to be involved in evangelism and outreach. In other words, being an outwardly focused Christian becomes an option for us. As Christian brothers and sisters, we urge you to get involved and experience the joy of becoming disciples of Jesus wherever you are. You will be amazed to see the responses of the people you talk with. People are so lonely and are longing for someone to talk to them, especially those from other countries. They are very willing to talk and share their experiences if they are able to speak English, and if they do not speak English it will be a great opportunity for you to give them a flyer from your church that offers English as a Second Language. IFC Centers (International Friendship Centers) are now in many different states sharing the love of Christ through friendships and hospitality ministry.
7. “God is bringing the nations to us,” so it is our responsibility to evangelize. POBLO’s IFCs are designed to train and equip lay people from the pews to become disciples. When we each meet our Lord, we can say we were your good and faithful servants because we shared our lives, time and talents with those who did not know You.
POBLO (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach) is a strategic ministry partner with the Center for United States Missions, offering ministry to new American neighbors, in partnership with local congregations who share the love of Jesus through service and by developing friendships with these new neighbors. With the help of POBLO, local congregations set up International Friendship Centers which offer sewing, cooking, computer training, as well as ESL and English conversation. Through POBLO’s ministry, many Muslims have been introduced to the Biblical Jesus and have come to know His saving grace. Cynthia invites you to learn more by going to the POBLO website (poblo.org) and watching the video, “POBLO Volunteers.”
Mission Moments is the e-newsletter sent by the Center for U.S. Missions to bring information and encouragement to all who desire to share God's great love in Jesus Christ with others. Permission is given to copy this article for distribution within your congregation or organization. Please credit the author and the Center for United States Missions. For more information contact the Center at (952)-221-0362, or visit our website: www.c4usm.org
Center for U.S. Missions – Contact Information
Email us at: | Rev. Dr. Peter Meier, Executive Director; email@example.com | Rev. Eric Wenger, Director of Mission Coaching; firstname.lastname@example.org| Kathy Meier, Coordinator; email@example.com | Mil Behnken, Office Manager; firstname.lastname@example.org