EV Tips/ Outreach? Nooo, INReach!


The evangelism team went to a combined church outreach on Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier. Many churches combined to “outreach” to all the unsaved who so willingly and enthusiastically attended Christian programs, listened to Christian bands playing Christian music, and took lots of Jesus stuff.
null Yeah, right. When you were a pagan, how many Christian events did you attend, unless you were conned by a less-than-honest disciple.

As a rule, non-Christians don’t like going to Christian outreaches. Atheists don’t listen to Christian bands, New-Agers believe they are God, and agnostics are undecided about the whole thing. So what is the purpose of a combined church outreach? I think it’s a placebo we take in place of actually doing “something, something, something” for the Lord, something that might cost something.

Though there is certainly nothing wrong with churches getting together to celebrate the Lord—in fact, that is a very good thing, church unity and all—let’s be clear about what it is not: church outreach. To “outreach” means to “reach out,” to go out of your way to “reach” sinners. A cloistered cadre of canvas Christian “Easy-Ups” is a far cry from what Jesus meant when He said “Go!”

Ray Comfort and his Way of the Master film crew were outside the fair because as he put it, “The Christian bands are so loud that you can’t witness to anybody.”

Our team went outside the fair where the non-Christians were… lots of non-Christians. The first three kids we talked with came to a saving knowledge of Jesus—outside the fair.

We preached open air on the benches set up along the pier, just out of range of the blaring bands and “God loves you” messages. We even interviewed a Hindu family, each bearing the name of a Hindu god.

The age of Christian “outreach” fairs, “relevant” messages, and stadium crusades has passed.

Christians need to get away from the “dog and pony shows” of shallow, showy, salvation sermonizing, and get out onto the highways and byways—where the sinners are!

Am I wrong here?


  1. Steve —

    I think there is still a place for ‘outreach events’ like the Harvest Crusade. The problem is Christian want all the work to be done by the people putting the event on. I went to a few Christian concerts before I was saved and enjoyed the music. I wasn’t always opposed to even going to church with friends on occasion. Did any of this have an effect on my accepting the Lord? I do not know. The truth is since I was saved in 1974, I heard the gospel almost every day from someone. I almost had the 4 spiritual laws memorized from hearing it so often.

    The truth is Christian concerts and the like have their place and always will be around, but every Christian needs to share their faith with others and that means asking people if they are saved or at least tell other about Jesus.

    Mike …

  2. Steve:

    You’re absolutely right. The first thought I had upon arrival was to depart from the crowd of christians gathered around the concert area and see if I could hand out tracks across the street near the shops.
    I had an opportunity to share with a couple young girls, and actually had the guts to ask one of them the milliion dollar question. I fumbled through the WDJD described in Ray Comfort’s book as best I felt able to do. I could see through her expressions and that she was really thinking about where she was with regard to sin. She didn’t commit to praying the prayer of salvation but I know that what I shared was not in vein. I still have a long way to go in being able to share the gospel, but I was encouraged by being able to overcome inhibitions that typically prevented me from sharing with people in the past.

  3. Mike: Good points. Unfortunately, Christian crusades will always be around, further giving fearful Christians an excuse not to take personal responsibility for their own evangelistic efforts.

    Herb: I’m proud that you are taking your first steps. Keep it up!!!

  4. I served two summers with missionaries who had come to Christ through Billy Graham’s crusades–the wife came to Christ, actually prayed for a new husband, and her (current) husband came to Christ to become her new husband. So I don’t know that there is no purpose to such gathers.

    However, I’ve always found them personally distasteful. Give me one on one over a good cup of coffee, or chatting with people on the street as we hand out literature, any day over a “Cheesy Music” festival haunted by the (theoretically) already saved.

  5. I was thrilled to read about you going out of your comfort zone
    and witnessing to people in these areas. It must be reallly exciting

    But I was really sad to see you talk about other kinds of evangelism
    I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in India and so did many of my friends. Some of my friends were saved at a Harvest crusade and they
    inturn led other people to Christ, with the same method you use- letting the law convict them, and through friendship evangelism. The Holy Spirit works in different and marvelous ways.

    I know that there are some churches that preach prosperity theology etc.
    thats another issue.

    I don’t think its right to demean other kinds of Evangelism. Its very sad
    to see this happening in the body of Christ

  6. Lydia:

    I just don’t think we should call these events “outreaches.”

  7. You’re right on, of course. Interestingly, this is the exact same approach most churches take toward the abortion holocaust. Nearly 4,000 innocent human beings are killed every day in this country, and in order to feel that they are “doing something” about it, churches support crisis pregnancy centers. Trouble is, the vast majority of abortion-minded women won’t step foot in a CPC, just like the vast majority of sinners won’t step foot in a Bible-preaching church. Most women going to CPC’s have already decided to keep their babies and want handouts. While there’s nothing wrong with charity, if we want to “do something” about abortion, we need to go to the places where the killing is taking place, when it is taking place. When Christians act like Christians, babies are saved–and souls are saved. Keep up the good work, Steve.

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