“Witness” and “outreach” are two aspects of evangelism. They are distinct but closely related. “Witness” is what we do Individually to share the Gospel with the lost people whom we know in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, ball fields, and many other places. “Outreach” refers to the things that we do to share the Gospel with the lost people in our community through the ministries and activities we conduct as a congregation. Outreach is a collective effort to engage the lost people who live, work, and play in the community in which our congregation is located.
Because they are closely related as the two aspects of evangelism, the words “witness” and “outreach” are often used interchangeably. Keeping them distinct helps us be more effective in both witness and outreach. Although they are distinct, outreach is most effective when it is integrated with witnessing.
The working definition of evangelistic outreach is: Our congregation’s efforts to make disciples by engaging the nonchurched people in our community through our ministries and activities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
Several key points about outreach embedded in this definition include:
- Outreach is done by people in the congregation working together (not individually),
- We seek to engage the lost people in our community through outreach,
- We conduct outreach in our community (i.e., where the congregation is located),
- We use existing and new ministries and activities for outreach, and
- The desired outcome of outreach is that people become disciples of Jesus.
Effective outreach is a critical skill for congregations at all stages of development and decline.
The primary resource for equipping congregational leaders and members for effective outreach is the re:Vitality module “Connect To Disciple” (CTD). CTD provides the practical four-phased outreach process of “Build Awareness, Create Connections, Nurture Relationships, Make Disciples” and useful tools for implementing the process including the Outreach Funnel and Outreach Pathways. CTD is available to LCMS congregations at no cost.
This quick guide provides a brief overview of the “Connect To Disciple” (CTD) resource. CTD is focused on equipping congregational leaders and members for effective outreach. In addition to providing information on the CTD module, the quick guide includes information on how to acquire CTD materials.