The Joy of Keeping an Outreach Journal
Arguably the book/course that has impacted my life most powerfully is Sonship. Put out by World Harvest Mission (now known as Serge), this grace-based curriculum was born and lived out in the life of its founder, John (“Jack”) Miller (his son Paul is a popular Christian author). Jack was well known as a pastor and missionary for his boldness in evangelism, and shortly after his death, his book A Faith Worth Sharing: A lifetime of conversations about Christ was published. It contains 9 chapters filled with examples of the Holy Spirit using him, in spite of his weaknesses, to share the gospel effectively with hungry souls from all walks of life.
I have often thought it would be exciting to do the same, to take note of how God brings opportunities my way, and to record them in some way. My version of this is less ambitious and time-intensive than a book. It has been to simply keep an outreach journal. It only takes a minute or two a day to do, and it has served as helpful accountability for me in terms of keeping the Great Commission great in my life.
But some of you may be thinking, “Kip, your timing seems to be a little off if you would encourage us to be active in sharing our faith. There is a pandemic going on!” Good point! However, if there is genuine desire in your heart to share Jesus with others, his Spirit will make a way. Perhaps for a season much of your outreach will involve technology. Sending texts, emails, social media interaction, snail mail (imagine that!), phone calls…simply to winsomely strengthen relationships with those who don’t know Christ yet. And to mention your Savior as the Spirit opens doors and prompts.
Others of you are less homebound by COVID. My encouragement to you would be to make the most of every opportunity (see Colossians 4:2-6). For example, rather than check yourself out at Walmart or the grocery store (a tempting option), take the extra time to let a clerk check you out. And then prayerfully engage them in conversation and see where God takes it! Learn his or her name and use it; ask them good questions, thank them for their good service. Do the same things with your waiter or waitress, and tip them generously (cheap Christians should be an oxymoron).
Willing to take the challenge? To give an outreach journal a try? I encourage you to give it a month, and then go from there. The Christmas holidays are a great time to serve and love others for Jesus sake. If you choose to give this a try, feel free to contact me (515-460-1933; firstname.lastname@example.org) or catch me in the Atrium and let me know how it’s going! And I would be glad to serve as an accountability partner or encourager if that would help. As pastor David said earlier, evangelism works best when we do it as a team.
I have attached an example of a log, but feel free to come up with your own version. Let’s together cast our nets and prepare for a catch!