!! The following are just my personal opinions / observations. !! It is not pointing to any particular groups or organizations, it is just about a potential of making things better for the future.
Outreach as an end goal model – words by words – means you have fulfilled the goal of bringing a good number of people into the church. And you think it is a mission completed.
However, outreach by NO MEANS should be an end goal or just one of a particular isolated events of the year. We are talking about “life” business here, not just bringing a good number of people to the church and that’s it. Without a series of following ups for those new “outreachees”, we are no different from leaving them on isolated island and let them to play the game of “natural selection” – so at the end, only the fittest will stay. Let me rephrase it, it means you bring people into church and isolating them??!!
And this actually makes outreach become a poison for new believers and non-believers. How?? One’s early experience / observations in the church (or a group) could determine his perception of “what a church is” for his life time. So what does it mean?? Perhaps it means we’re blocking God’s hand to touch those people’s heart… Have you ever heard some people they saw bad things in the church and never went to church again??? Do you think it will be more difficult to outreach to those people who has been to church but had a bad experience before??
So when you think you have completed a “mission”, have you ever thought whose mission you are completing for??
You may not be the one who do both outreach and follow up at the same time, but are those 2 things should be tightly related to each other??
Let me make it more visualize – the dangerous of “Outreach as an end goal model”. Let us make a “田”, if you know chinese – “田” means a farming field, and inside a “田” is soil.
Assumption for this model:
1) Outreach brings new life to the field.
2) Following up bring those new life to be future workers in the field who will bring other new life.
Detail – yet not very detail
Soil A is the best soil. With both outreach and following up in shape, there is a eco-system of 1) Outreach – bring new life to the field, 2) follow up – make the new life become the future “workers” in the fields to outreach other new life. And through this eco-system, there are several side benefits that comes with it. 1) Encouragement; 2) Bringing meaning to your serving; 3) Grow in size … etc.
Soil B is bad testimonial soil. People only do the outreach but neglect the importance of following up. It means the plants could be die down for whatever reasons easily and they don’t have support. What does it mean?? With no following up, unless they ask for help, nobody will know or care what’s going on in their life. With no following up, it means you bring people into church and isolate them??!!
Soil C is in grown soil, which is bad too. In this Soil C model, the church members become so comfortable with their current church life, and do not want to have a change. And this is why Bible said “Now is the harvest time, but where are the workers ?”. The church will start to ingrown only, and it is the beginning symptoms of a “no life church”. No life means no new life, No life means there won’t be next generation leader to revive the church. So Soil C is a ingrown shrinking land.
Soil D, please, that should never be happening in our community… That is a social club.