Before I go on, let me state in no uncertain terms that formalised evangelism is so necessary, amazingly fruitful and something that I have seen God use and bless on countless occasions. Hey, I’ve devoted a lot of my life to it!

But, as I’ve devoted so much of my time and life to it, I’ve also noticed that every single evangelism programme is nothing new. Instead, it is ancient! It was the heartbeat of Christianity, only wrapped up and disguised in the form of programmes, events and initiatives. And that’s why I was feeling uncomfortable.

Surely as the carriers of God’s message we should be personally doing what these programmes were being designed to do.

Drawing alongside.
Showing the light, love, hope and grace of Jesus.
Building relationships.
Engaging with people.
Every day.

So often in church we complain that not enough people are coming through our doors. We feel disheartened that we are just not reaching the same amount of people that we used to.

But as we lament this fact, we’re forgetting that our church body gathered on a Sunday or whenever, are rubbing shoulders with, reaching out to, relating to and engaging with literally thousands and thousands of people every day. Now that’s what I call a church outreach programme!

We as the church have a message that contains the cure to death. God has entrusted us to be the carriers of His hope and light to the world. And we seem content to sit back and wait for people to come to us looking for the truth and grace. Instead of taking this awesome news to the people in our society, we busy ourselves in setting up and creating our own little subcultures that are really just imitations of other things that already exist in our society.

In fact, perhaps we would do well to rediscover the nature of the ancient Celtic monastries. Centuries ago, these monastries acted as training grounds for mission, equipping people to be sent and to serve. Rather than attempting to draw people towards their buildings, these Celtic communities focused on worship, prayer, learning and service as they developed authentic relationships aimed at building up the saints. Not centred on buildings but devoted to building.

For them there was no distinction between the secular and the sacred. A dividing line didn’t exist. For them, everything was an opportunity to serve God, something that was shown through their worship vocabulary.

And thus this Celtic lifestyle swung between community and journey where these ancient celts took their passion, truth and faith into the different areas of their culture. Communities reaching communities.

In the same way, in our churches we desperately need times focused on building up the saints. Community.

And then we also need times to take what we have into the different areas of our cultures. Carrying.

I love the thought of us carrying the light of Jesus with us everywhere we go.