Recently a small group of people from The Well had an energetic conversation about what “outreach” looks like at The Well. As we head into the 2011 Annual Meeting I wanted to share with you some of what we talked about.
Just so we are all on the same page, when we use the term “outreach” we are talking about caring for others in both word and deed. That is, we are telling people about Jesus as well as caring for them in the way we believe Jesus would have us care for them. Basically what we are doing is learning about and sharing with others the generosity of Jesus!
We talked about two ways this takes place:
In our daily lives… We talk this about on a regular basis, that we are each called to live out the presence and love of Jesus in the places that we work, in our neighborhoods, in our homes, in our friendships, in the grocery store and as we drive along the road (So, pretty much everywhere we go!). As a pastor, I love hearing stories of how this is happening and I can honestly say I hear them a lot!
Together as a shared community… There are times when we are given the opportunity to come together as a community to care for and be generous towards others. Whether it is caring for a specific family in need, responding to a call for fundraising for a project we are passionate about or even serving a group of people together in a specific way, this way of outreach is important because it gives us a witness together and shows the world that God cares for them.
The Way Forward…
As we talked, we saw two main ways that we desire to continue living out this understanding of outreach.
Daily Outreach Involves Intentionality
In your daily lives, I want to encourage you to keep on being intentional about loving others in the name of Jesus as you go about your daily life! Also, find ways to be intentional about encouraging others to do the same. When you are caring for someone, think about bringing a friend from The Well along with you. This might also take the form of having a monthly meeting with a small group of friends where you pray with each other and share how God is using you to love others. It may also be more informal. However you do it, just do it!
Communal Witness is Discerned Communally.
Our opportunities for communal witness are not determined by one or two people who tell you how you will love people and be generous toward them. Our community depends on you to bring needs and opportunities before the rest of us. Our most beautiful expressions of generosity have come from the hearts and ideas of the community. For example, our church plant in Bristol was birthed from a small group of people who saw a need and heard God’s call to care for this town. Our partnership with the Hispanic church locally came from a few members of The Well who have a heart for that community. Bottom line: If you have a project that you are passionate about, bring it up and let’s see if there is anyone else in the community who wants to serve alongside if you. The best point of contact for this kind of thing is Todd Hiestand (toddh at thewellpa.com).
It is my prayer that as we continue to experience and learn more and more about the generosity of Jesus we would express that generosity towards others as individuals and as a community.
If you have ideas on how we can serve together, please share it and let’s get things moving!