I have been spending some time thinking about how to revamp and ignite the outreach ministry of our church. One of the frequent dilemmas for a church that desires to become more externally focused, more missional, is the balancing of service and PR. There is nothing inherently wrong with advertising, but sometimes a sincere outreach can be perceived as a mere marketing strategy. When this happens it sends a distorted message to both those outside the church and those who go out from the church.
John Stott, in his book Christian Mission in the Modern World, offers the following insights about this dilemma:
To sum up, we are sent to the world, like Jesus, to serve. For this is the natural expression of our love for our neighbors. We love. We go. We serve. And in this we have (or we should have) no ulterior motive. True, the gospel lacks visibility if we merely preach it, and lacks credibility if we who preach it are interested only in souls and have no concern about the welfare of people’s bodies, situations and communities. Yet the reason for our acceptance of social responsibility is not primarily in order to give the gospel either a visibility or a credibility it would otherwise lack, but rather simple uncomplicated compassion. Love has no need to justify itself. It merely expresses itself in service wherever it sees need.
2 thoughts on “Out-stretching the Outreach Dilemma”
I like how Stott framed this. Especially like the last sentence or two.
I like pretty much everything Stott writes.