The 'four pistons' of our outreach

a holistic view

When it comes to outreach, a multi-faceted approach is a good approach. It will take the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.

Here are four pistons of outreach mobilisation – each having its unique place in outreach.

#1 – The individual (The most important)
#2 – The church small group (The home base)
#3 – The congregation (The starting point)
#4 – The combined/united endeavour (The majority reach)

The most important point is that our greater effectiveness in outreach isn’t in any one of these pistons – but instead in all of them working together.

Piston #3 has a unique place as the starting place for outreach mobilisation

It is the role of all leaders to ensure that the mission of their organisation is in fact the mission of their organisation. The main leader in a church is often called the Pastor, Vicar or Reverend. Church leaders are responsible to ensure the mission Jesus gave (Matthew 28) is authentically,
observably and measurably the mission of their own local church.

Key change in thinking: A shift from programme-based to habit-based mobilisation.

Piston #1 has a unique place as the most important piston

A talented pastor who can run various amazing attractional programmes is no match for 100 mobilised members. Our churches need to equip our members (Ephesians 4) to help them become confident and desiring to engage in outreaching conversations. This is a core work.

Key change in thinking: From a didactic/telling approach to a conversational approach.

Piston #2 has a unique place as the home base for outreach

No matter how sincere a pastor is when encouraging their members to outreach, the members can nod their heads in agreement while actually thinking about what they are going to eat for lunch. For members to be sustainably mobilised, the relational dynamics, accountability, teamwork and encouragement of the small group are needed.

Key change in thinking: The mission of the Church is also the mission of the church small group.

Piston #4 has a unique place as the majority reach

For some math: If personal witness connects Christian messages with 10% of the non-church population in a given year, and church community ministries another 10%, this leaves 80% with no Christian trying to connect gospel messages with them – if not for initiatives sitting in the combined/ public space. For some examples, consider Hope Project, Life TV, the work of Rhema Media and combined church efforts like larger Christmas events in parks. Efforts like these are also important because if people only hear negative things about our churches they’ll believe what they hear. We need to speak up and engage to bring a balance.

Key change in thinking: The local church is not the hope of the world. The Church is – and there is a difference.

And the overarching point? All pistons are needed! How could we bring them all to greater health and life?

Shining Lights Trust logo

The Shining Lights Trust is a strategic resourcing ministry, serving Christian churches.

It’s purpose is to help resource, encourage and aid the Christian church in the sharing of it’s message of God’s love to a world in need of hope.


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