Books authored by Dr. James Dyet. Purchase on

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Indispensable Outreach Plan

Evangelicals are devising many novel ways to bridge the gap between church and community. As a result, many believers are devoting enormous time, energy, money, and work to feed or clothe or entertain or educate their church’s targeted mission field or “market.” If your church has launched what can be described as a creative outreach program, you may be wondering whether it is worthwhile–even biblical.

One thing is certain, though. Even the most creative and worthwhile outreach program cannot—and must not—substitute for God’s plan for the church. When a congregation gathers for worship and edification, it should revere God’s Word and anticipate its proclamation. Paul told Timothy, a young pastor, to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). My Greek professor Kenneth Wuest said this command obligates each pastor to proclaim God’s Word with such authority that those who hear it feel compelled to obey it.

Any 21st century congregation that has the good fortune to sit under clear, authoritative, life-related, Biblical preaching will feel compelled and privileged to share the Good News with unbelievers. And when unbelievers respond by trusting in Christ as their Savior, the messengers should urge them to attend church so they can learn, grow, and repeat the cycle of evangelism.

Does this plan resemble New Testament practice? It does. The New Testament church performed charitable deeds, but it did not substitute benevolence for biblical preaching and teaching. Nor did it bait the unregenerate culture with entertainment. It seems to me that we can’t improve on New Testament methodology, but some churches need to get in on it!