Outreach is the vehicle through which the church works out it’s missional purpose to share The Good News (Evangelise).
I’m not sure how accurate that is but it seems a good starting point to work out what we are doing.
If outreach is simply reaching out, then mission should be the purpose that drives it. Running a food bank is outreach, mission is bringing God into the mix by evangelising.
So is outreach simply service under another name? I don’t know but looking at what happens as many churches outreach that could well be so.
One of the great things about the churches I work with is they get the difference. They don’t always find it easy but they get that’s what it’s about.
I work in what is called soft evangelism. I wasn’t there for the main era of Billy Graham Crusade inspired evangelism. I came to Christ through soft evangelism, my wife was a Christian and I found myself getting to know her church, getting to like them, wondering what made them the people they were and discovering Christ along that route. At it’s heart Christianity is about relationship and however you come to Christ it is relationship that keeps you there, relationship with God and relationship with fellow believers.
Most things we do as a circuit are based around this idea of building relationship, Elemental Tent, Faith Al Fresco, The Prayer Caravan, Alpha. They’re all things that allow for that slow build, faith by osmosis, but there is space as well for that moment of revelation and clarity. Either way though the people who make up the Meon Valley Circuit are prepared to give their best to those conversations to help people on their journey.