Have you thought about areas of your live where you can do outreach? What does it look like to build outreach into your every day life? What does God desire of us when it comes to outreach. Thanks for joining us for episode 4 of our series about being good neighbors.
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Narrator: Purposely. Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com. Welcome to Purposely equipped. We want to help you go deeper in your faith by learning truth from the Bible. Our new series, What does It mean to be a good Neighbor? Will help you discover what the Bible has to say about how we treat and love those around us. This is a practical podcast where we’ll learn together what God desires of us. For this series, we are joined by Pastor Jesse Bradley of Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington.
Welcome back to Purposely Equipped. This is our podcast focusing on loving your neighbor. We’re practical. We want to empower and encourage you going deeper in the Bible. And in this fourth episode, we’re going to focus on the question, how can you get started with outreach? We’ve been talking about loving our neighbors, how Jesus lived, what he challenges us to do. And maybe you’re at a point right now where fear’s been holding you back or you just feel like I don’t know what to say and do. So how do you get started with outreach? And I want to begin by sharing an acronym, and this is a biblical concept, comes from Genesis chapter 12. God blesses us so we can bless other people. God blessed Abraham, and out of that the nations will be blessed. And that acronym right there, bless. Let’s break that down. The B, begin with prayer, start praying for people.
I’ve been in Bible studies that were very inward focused until we all made a list of people we can start praying for and people who don’t know Jesus. And all of a sudden we’re on mission together because now we’re praying for and talking about these relationships and what we can do next to lead them to Jesus. So when you begin with prayer, it’s powerful. We can’t save anyone. God is the one who changes lives and saves. So we rely on him from the start. The L is to listen. A lot of people skip over this. They just want to talk. But actually to open up opportunities. When you ask questions and you find out what are people’s religious background, what’s their story? What are some of the pain points in their life? What are they learning? When you ask those questions and listen, people feel valued.
And as you get to know them better, then when you do share, it is going to be more timely and personal because you’re caring about them and listening. The next one is E.
And that’s for eat and to buy someone a meal or coffee. Have someone over your house have a meal together. Enjoy the food, enjoy the relationship, spend some extended time. The S is serve and look around and notice what are the needs around you? Are they relational? Are they emotional, physical needs? Someone need a ride, yard work? We’re all in need. We all have areas where we can serve others. And as we do that, we communicate and extend the love of Christ. We demonstrate it, we live it out humbly. We want to meet people’s needs because God works through us as we do that. And he gets the glory. People see your good works. They praise your father in heaven.
And the last one, share, it’s to speak. And that’s important. Share your story, share the gospel. You could share a website or share a book, but share so that people can hear the good news. And when you live that lifestyle where you wake up each morning, it’s kind of a habit and a mindset of God, who do you want me to bless today? And you might think through your friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, God, you brought so many people in my life now, how can I bless them? And when you wake up with that, and that’s your starting point, that prayer, watch what God will do during the day and watch the amazing things that’ll happen when you realize God has made me to bless other people and I want to step into that purpose. So that’s a helpful overview.
If you’re thinking about what can I do today? You can bless someone, begin with prayer, listen to people, eat, serve people, and share. You know, loving people, it’s not just when someone comes to know the Lord and then that’s all that matters. No, no. All these other things are habits and ways that you cultivate these habits. They lead to more opportunities and then people are going to come and know the Lord, but overall, you’re loving them in every part of their life. It’s very holistic. So I welcome back right now all three in terms of our conversations, again, Melanie, who leads our international student ministry, Leroy, one of our worship leaders, and then Wayne, our outreach pastor. And we’re going to hear from all three in this episode. And Melanie, starting with you what would you say to people in terms of getting started? What really helps people as they consider outreach and loving their neighbors?
Yeah, the word that comes to mind is passion. What are you really passionate about? I have a friend that is really passionate about sewing and she had a group of ladies from the church and they were sewing cancer quilts and they were doing some outreach, but even doing more, I introduced an older student to them, an international student from Japan, and she was lonely and she didn’t feel like she fit in with the younger crowd at school. And they really welcomed her and blessed her and they taught her how to start quilting and doing some handwork. And she was so blessed that, and she did not know Jesus but when she came in, but before she left back to go back to Japan, she had a Jesus encounter and she had a framework for praying and some modeling on that. And so she, at a low point, she just was called out to God and he met her in a really almost tangible, physical way. And she’s just been transformed. But I think that going with your passion where you’re at and just inviting people into your life or getting involved, God’s going to wire us differently. He’s, he’s given us different background. He’s given us different exposures. Kind of do inventory and ask him, how can I use what I’ve got here to serve you? And maybe try something new. But I would say, do something that you’re passionate about and it’s going to, that it’s glow.
That’s great. And I like the phrase, be more intentional than additional. When you think about loving your neighbors in outreach, yes, you might do a few extra things, but it’s really about being intentional, where you already are, where you live, work, learn, play the people God’s place in your life. And you just highlighted, let’s say you enjoy watching movies. Well, there’s people who don’t know Jesus that watching movies or you reading, well, there’s book clubs. You can get in those relationships. Absolutely. You want to learn another language, we’ll learn it with someone who doesn’t know Jesus. And when you’re doing these things together that you enjoy or it’s sports and you start doing those, you’re going to build relationship in a bond. And then it’s even become more natural to share other parts of your life, deeper parts of your life, parts of your faith, maybe because why you’re, you’ve got a common shared passion in enjoyment in different activities. That’s so practical, Melanie, thank you.
And inviting somebody to come along and enjoy that with you, what you enjoy. That’s just pure joy.
That’s it. Right on. And Leroy, as you think about, because when we say loving your neighbor so often in a Western mindset, we just think of me, what I’m doing to love my neighbor. And that’s part of it, but it’s a both and. It’s really what can we do together to love our neighbors? And I know Leroy, you’re someone that values relationship, values, community. I just see you do life and ministry that way. And we comes before the me so often in the Bible and Jesus is always joining together with others. Here comes Peter again and James and John, and they’re doing it together. And I see that in your life and maybe you could share a little bit about loving neighbors and doing it together.
So practically if someone is starting out, I would definitely tell them to do it with other people. You’re going to learn from them. There’s safety in that. There’s wisdom in that. I remember in Bible college in San Diego, we lived about 45 minutes from the city of San Diego in a town called Marietta and maybe 30 or 40 of us would take hot chocolate and hot water and get cups of noodles for the homeless. And we would do it together. We wouldn’t let women go by themselves or anyone that’s just new go by themselves. A whole bunch of us would go and one, we would bond together. But also it was something that we all kind of shared. We all kind of like, wow, we get to love as a unit. We get to love and one accord as the body, not just like, oh, well this great man of God is doing that, of this great woman of God. So if you’re starting out, I encourage you, go with some other people, go learn from them. Go and love alongside them. And secondly, I would know your community, know who you’re going to go serve. Is it Spanish speaking? Is it a bunch of Samoans that this kind of food is? Are you on a surfer town? Go and know about the people that you’re going to go serve and love on. Just so it’s a little bit more intentional. It’s a little bit more on purpose and it’s real. It’s genuine.
That’s a great story and example because when you’re with other people, you kind of push past the excuses because everyone’s already doing it. So we’re going other procrastination or sometimes the fear gets in the way, but when there’s a lot of other people around, then you get a little bolder. Or it even just gets more fun because you’re with other people you love and you’re seeing it together, you’re celebrating together. That’s it. And I mean, I think underlying that too, I’d encourage people find a church that’s active in outreach, that’s doing things beyond the walls of the church locally, globally. Go on maybe a missions trip together or locally start to find out what’s going on, what’s God already moving in, and then enter in because there’s some incredible ministries, and you might even do it with people who aren’t from your church. It might be a mixture, a few from your church, few from another church.
And that’s great. We’re one body, we’re one family, and we get to do it together, learn together. I’ve heard it where sometimes at a bigger company or even an apartment complex that the people who love Jesus will get together and they’ll think and pray, how can we reach out where we live here? And they might be different denominations, but they come together for that shared purpose too. Yeah that’s a great story. Yeah, right. Wayne we got to let you save you enough time here to share as well. Wayne. Getting started is often the hardest part because once you get rolling now you’re just doing it and you just know God’s going to move and you’re confident. But when you first start, it’s like, is there going to be rejection? I mean, I remember I refused when I became a Christian in college, I refused to share my faith.
I thought I’d be a silent Christian. And it wasn’t until I was on a mission trip like Leroy just said with other people, and I was at Daytona Beach and I just thought, they’re going to beat me up. They’re going to spit on me, they’re going to break bottles on my head. You know what? I convinced myself that all these things are going to happen, so I’m going to stay quiet. But then once you kind of break through and you actually go there, and then, I mean we talked to people who were drunk and they were like, this took courage. Thanks for sharing. And I was like, what? Yeah, you just said that. I thought I was going to get beat up. It was like I broke through a barrier and then I’m like, wait, if I can talk to drunk strangers at Daytona Beach, I think I can go back and talk to the soccer team. I think I can talk to my family some more. So, you’re such an encourager. You build people up. What would you say to people that this is going to be new, it’s going to be scary, and they’re taking a big step of faith right here.
Yeah. And taking that step of faith. We talk about, you know, can’t be timid. It says it in a word. God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind, and Leroy hit the nail on the head when he was just talking about the ways you can go do it. You don’t have to do it alone. I think a lot of people, they want to just take on this thing and they think, oh, I got to do it by myself. And you know what I’m saying? I got to develop this, I got to develop that. Man. Teams are great. That’s the number one way you really do want to go out and do it. Yeah, you want a leader. There has to be a leader, but you need a team to be able to execute. You can’t execute everything by yourself.
One thing I love about` here at Grace, our church, we have so many different areas of outreach from international to just even all the way down to the prayer on Fridays, the drive-through prayer is amazing. There’s many different ways you can reach out. So also I would say in starting out in fear and stuff, don’t limit yourself. Go to what’s familiar. Do things that already working. Do things that already get your kids there. Do things that already get the adults there. The young adults and families. Find those things that are already working. And I guarantee you, if that’s working for those people, it’s going to work for some of their community because some of those people that they hang around think the exact same way. And so it’s finding out the heart in the pulse of what’s in the church, as long as it lines up with the biblical standards you already have set and saying, Hey, what did you guys love to do? Cool, let’s start doing that a little bit and let’s make that happen for the community.
That’s it. And like you say, there’s such a wide range, so don’t feel like you’ve got to do it just like someone else. Do it your style. And when you go back to Bless and you think, and I remember when I was just starting, bless, it felt a little formula. It’s not a project, right? Yeah. It’s not check-in boxes, not comparing to other people. This is just simply a tool that can help move me towards action and get me headed in the right direction. And when I thought through, okay, who can I pray for? Because the be begin with prayer, who can I pray for? And I start to write down specific names. I’m going to pray for these people. And that helped me to write it down. Okay, listen, who do I know right now this month that I think if I listen to them, there might be some healing.
God’s going to use that because they need some care. And I’d write down a name. Who could I eat with? And I’d look at my schedule and be like, okay, let’s see. I think I’m going to text this person and see if they want to go out to lunch and I’ll buy the Mod Pizza and let’s get that on the calendar before it all fills up. And that’s the person I’m going to, okay, who can I serve? And I’d think about, all right, who right now needs a helping hand? Maybe they’re moving maybe there’s some yard work. And then lastly, who can I share with? And maybe it’s been a relationship where I’ve known someone for 10 years and it was a great relationship, but I’ve never shared my faith or I’ve never invited them to church. And I’d write down their name.
And for me starting out those specifics of, okay, I’m thinking through the different ways that I could love people around me, and now I’m going to put some names on it and I’m going to pray and over this next month, let’s see what God will do. And I was surprised. God looked back at the end of the month and I’d be like, wow. And it just began with that intentionality of writing down a name in something specific and each thing didn’t feel daunting. Like, wait, I could listen to that person. I could buy that person a meal. And then what I’ve seen at our church staff started doing that, elders started doing leadership, started doing that, and then we would just celebrate those stories once a month.
Yeah, I’m a part of that story. You took me to Mod Pizza. I remember that you took me to Mod Pizza. You took me to Mod Pizza. You took care of me. Well, so I’m a part of that. I’m look at that outreach. An example.
Well, we want to bless each other, that’s for sure. And what happens when more people start to bless more people, the culture changes and all of a sudden we’re not an inward holy huddle. But now, yes, we love each other and we also love people far beyond the walls of church or people that reject God. And now the culture changes and now we’re becoming more like Jesus. And I like, you know what Melanie said? It can be quilting, sewing. We’ve got people making dresses, sending them to Africa. It’s in a group. It’s not just alone. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Other people are going to do it with you. Leroy said, and Wayne, like you said, you got to take that step. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. So if you’re overwhelmed with fear, say that’s not from God, but he gives us power and love and we’re going to need to rely on God the whole way too. Wayne, you got anything you want to close with?
No, man, you guys just brought the heat, so I’m just going to just digress.
This is so good, so good. As we’re going through this series, we just have one episode left. What is God doing in the Pacific Northwest? We want to celebrate and highlight what God is doing in the Sound. Sometimes in the news you don’t hear a lot of stories about what God’s doing, so let’s celebrate those together. Thanks for joining us through this podcast, and that’s four episodes, one left. Let’s finish strong together, love our neighbors.
Narrator: Special thanks again to our hosts from Grace Community Church in Auburn for their help with this series. And thank you for downloading. What does it mean to be a good neighbor? A Purposely Equipped series. Let’s keep growing in our faith together, purposely equipped as part of Purposely a podcast network with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts and faith resources and onpurposely.com.