A few days ago I put up a poll for people to put the ratio of inreach to outreach related activities and events. I had hoped to get more data but what we did get pretty much lined up with what you would expect. There is not enough data here to draw any firm conclusions but when you see the data we did get match with what many of us have witnessed first-hand, many churches are doing way more inreach than outreach. That wouldn’t be so bad if it was 60/40 because we know there are verses like Galatians 6:10 that tell us our primary responsibility is toward other Christians first and then doing good to non-believers. But what is troublesome (according to the survey and personal observation) is that the ratio is typically more like 90% inreach and 10% outreach or less.
In what ways, specifically are you targeting the lost?
Another way to conceptualize this is to ask of your budget what percentage of our giving is specifically designated for reaching lost people or at least impacting lost people specifically. Some would say the worship service has an outreach component because there is the invitation at the end of the sermon. But that is not what I am talking about here. If a congregation cannot specifically define how it is targeting lost people, rubbing shoulders with them, and impacting them for Christ then we are missing the point entirely.
Challenging the structures we have in place:
I would challenge any of you ministers or elders out there reading this to go through your budget (money) and the time of your ministers and see what % is dedicated toward those who are not already inside your four walls on Sunday morning. For most this is going to be very eye-opening. Next, evaluate the quality of your inreach and identify the areas you can really do without. Then take that extra time, money, and resources and start devoting them toward those who have never heard the Gospel. They are all around us if we just start looking.
If you start examining these things and find out your ministries have achieved a healthy balance here I would like to hear from you specifically in the comments section:
- Where did your focus come from?
- How did you start?
- What are you doing concretely to reach the lost that has worked?
- What roadblocks stood in the way of increasing your outreach and how were they handled successfully?