Reaching out, outreach and out of reach?

Who should we as believers be reaching out to?

Many talk about outreach to the unsaved and unchurched.  Some churches make it their aim to position themselves to reach the unsaved and unchurched.  Some do it very effectively–praise the Lord.

Some individuals have a passion to reach those who seem out-of-reach.  The individuals who are part of another religion or cult.  This type of ministry requires wisdom and perseverance.  For the out-of-reach are exactly that, hard to reach. They usually are not simply disinterested as the unchurched often are, they are actively connected (even evangelistically active) in an institution that makes it almost  impossible–except for the grace of God–for them to see the truth.  Ministries focused on this group often use confrontational apologetics often target this group.

I have a real interest, partly due to the context I live in, to reach out to those who are de-churched or in the dead-churched.

The de-churched are disconnected from the church–often because of the behavior of the church.  They are disengaged from the life of the church often because the church they were a part of didn’t really have life–connection, community, compelling worship or clear teaching.

The dead-churched are those who are part of organized religion who are not hearing the message of the gospel or the glories of grace through the cross of Jesus.

These two groups, the de-churched and the dead-church leave me as a pastor with a need to focus in two directions.

First, inward–or within the church.

Are we doing anything that might cause some who are a part of our church to become de-churched?  Rather than simply condemning or becoming discouraged by those who disengage or disconnect, we must reach out in grace and love.  We must ask: Are we providing opportunities for individuals to truly

  • connect with God
  • to find a second family for fellowship–intentional relationships for growth
  • interact in save environment where the truths of Scripture confront the chaos of life
  • to serve in areas of passion

Second, outward–or within our community.

We need to seek out or reach out to those who have become disconnected and therefore de-churched and reengage them into the reality of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and His family.

I believe our church should seek to leverage itself to reach the de-church and dead-church by first ensuring we are intentionally and aggressively adapting our ministry to provide authentic compelling worship and teaching, authentic and compassionate fellowship (family) in order to keep our own from disconnecting.

How can we do this?  Please give me your thoughts.

For a brief explanation of why some become de-churched, watch this video by Matt Chandler of the Village Church.


Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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