Our Engagement Radar
My sermon for last Sunday morning was about our Engagement Radar. In other words, who is on our radar? Who are we trying to reach as we engage folks with the Gospel? I shared with you that I have categorized the world into two groups of folks: Reached and Unreached.
Reached Peoples – Who are the “reached”? How should we impact them? There are myriads of people in our community who are already reached but are not invested in meaningful ways in a local church. Our church has an opportunity and a responsibility to have an impact among them. Here are characteristics of the reached:
- Believers who have already demonstrated some level of commitment to the church and exhibit some characteristics of spiritual maturity.
- Believers who are either prepared for ministry or represent great potential for ministry.
- Believers who may not currently be meaningfully invested in the life of a local church.
Our community has many Christians who are not connected to a local body of believers. Some of them are new to the metroplex. Some of them have just not found that “place” yet. Some of them have been disenfranchised and feel a need to find a new place of service and community.
What attracts Reached Peoples to any church?
- Quality Worship
- Spiritual Formation Opportunities and Focus
- Fellowship, Connection, Community
- Quality programming for all ages — especially children!
- Opportunities to engage in meaningful ministry and mission
- Opportunity to be invested in the Missio Dei
Unreached Peoples – Who are the “unreached”? How should we impact them? There are myriads of people in our community who have yet to be reached with the Gospel. There are millions of people who live in the far reaches of our world who remain unreached peoples today due to a lack of access to the Gospel in their geographical area. Our church has an opportunity and a responsibility to impact unreached peoples with the Gospel. Who are the unreached?
- Lost people in and around the Arlington community
- Unchurched people in our community who may have barriers that hinder them from finding Christian community
- Lost people who live in geographical areas across our world with little or no access to the Gospel
As mentioned, unreached peoples live among us and they live across the world. Surely, we all would agree that we need to be impacting the unreached peoples who live in our own community! Hopefully, we would also all agree we have a responsibility to participate in efforts that promote the spread of the Gospel among the unreached peoples in the world who live in those places that may be closed to the Gospel. Let’s consider our impact in both places among both sets of unreached peoples.
In the Arlington community, what might attract Unreached Peoples to any church?
- The Gospel! We believe the Gospel is good news! Unreached peoples here in our community will respond to the Gospel if it is shared appropriately and authentically. The good news of the Gospel is good seed and will bear fruit (Mark 4:26-29).
- Piqued curiosity – often unreached people will demonstrate interest in spiritual matters or in the church because they are curious. For example, when a natural disaster strikes, or some major life event occurs—people are prone to ponder the deeper things of life.
- Relationships – Unreached people are . . . people! People are drawn to healthy and fulfilling relationships. As we share our lives with others, there should be opportunities for us to have a spiritual impact on their lives.
- Meeting real needs – Unreached people have real needs in their lives. There are opportunities for the church to speak into those needs. This often opens unreached people to the Gospel.
In the far reaches of our world, how might we reach Unreached Peoples?
- The Gospel! Again, we believe the Gospel is good news – anywhere for anyone!
- Church planting efforts – the best and most effective means of evangelism among any unreached people group is a church planting movement. We must be involved in supporting church planting efforts among the unreached peoples of the world who are living in the challenging places in our world.
- Scripture translation and distribution – unreached peoples across the world respond positively to the Word of God. We need to be invested in the translation and distribution of Scripture among the unreached.
- Meeting physical needs – again, people across the world respond positively to medical care, access to clean water, and better living conditions in the everyday.
- Gospel proclamation from cross-cultural workers. There is still the need to send workers from the reached world to the unreached world.
- Gospel proclamation from same culture believers. We have the opportunity to reach unreached peoples who live among us! There are millions of migrants and immigrants who live in proximity to Christians. We can reach them, and they often return to their own peoples in their nation of origin and take the Gospel with them.