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Baby Steps For Outreach

February 8, 2021, 5:00 PM

Jonah's story challenges us to take ownership of God’s call for us to be His messengers today. But we often don’t know where to start, so we can practically quit before we get started. One thing we can do is commit to taking baby steps in the right direction when it comes to “sharing.” We may not have the opportunity to share every day, but that might mislead us to think we have nothing to do. However, we can commit to baby steps in the right direction that help us to say “Yes” to being God’s messengers.  Here’s a list of baby steps we can take divided into 3 categories - baby steps in prayer, baby steps in getting to know others, and baby steps in the digital world.

Baby Steps through Prayer:

· Pray for lost people by name. Pray for a heart that is broken for the lost. Pray for opportunities to share.

· Prayer walk (or prayer drive) your neighborhood or the neighborhood around the church.

· Offer to pray for someone. Most people won’t reject prayer, and even if people aren’t spiritually-minded, they know that you’re still trying to care for them. Plus answered prayer is often a great testimony! When you offer to pray for someone, you also become a safe person for people to talk to about spiritual things. I remember when I worked at an insurance company, I felt like my team’s chaplain because eventually prayer requests just came to me.

Baby Steps for Helping You Get To Know Others:

· Identify routines that put you around others. Most of the time we don’t need to add to our routine, we just need to be a little more intentional in our routines. Identify parts of your weekly routine that naturally put you around others like soccer practice, being a regular at a restaurant, interacting with your lost coworkers or family members.

· Be just a little more chatty around others you see routinely. As an introvert, I could be happy enough reading a book or staring at my phone, so sometimes I have to push myself to be just a little chattier than I’d normally be. I used to do that when I was waiting to pick up my kid from school with other parents around me, and I found all of the sudden I knew more people and had new acquaintances.

· Get to know your neighbors. A chance conversation while on a walk can become the beginning of getting to know your neighbors more deeply over time. I can think of friendly chance encounters that got Katherine and I invited to a barbeque or other special events.

· Strike up a conversation based on common interest. Anytime I see someone with Buckeye gear this close to Ann Arbor it’s an opportunity to talk to a stranger and make an acquaintance. You likewise share many passions with others that can get you immediately into a fun conversation.

· Invite someone to church. It’s not the same as sharing the gospel, but we literally know people in our congregation in which coming to church was part of their path to faith. Even if they say no, it can still be a good entry point to talk about spiritual things.

· Welcome people at church. We can never take for granted that the people who walk through our doors are already saved. We very literally can be a positive or negative representative of church people to someone who makes the brave step to come in. We always need to remember the church is not just about us. At the beginning of this year, we’ve had a surprising number of guests. (Praise God for that!)

Baby Steps For The Digital World:

· Get on I got our church on and have used it to say hi and welcome new people who move into the neighborhoods nearest to us. On, people often introduce themselves as well as list needs they have. In the Corona age, this can be a really useful tool for getting to know neighbors. It also can help us serve our neighbors.

· Hit Share on Facebook. Christians can often be accused of sharing too much goofy stuff that’s not helpful for the world. One way we can introduce people to the church, spiritual things, and even the gospel could be simply by sharing a message on Facebook. In back-to-back weeks (this week and last week) I’ve heard of people I would not expect tuning in.

Baby steps in the right direction make a world of difference. It helps you go from “I think sharing is a good idea in theory” to actually practicing it and setting up opportunities for later. Sometimes the first step isn’t evangelizing (which often frightens us to inaction) but setting up opportunities for later. What baby steps can you commit to practicing to share a compassionate God with others?

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