One church countered this trend by celebrating the many families in their church who were involved in community sports programs. They formed a support group to help those families develop more intentional strategies to reach other families with the gospel. Notice they did not form a sports-based church outreach program. Church leaders encouraged families to stay involved with their secular leagues. The church organized a once-a-month meeting for prayer, sharing success stories, problem-solving difficult situations, and distributing resources for witnessing to athletes or their family members. When a person professed faith in Jesus, it was reported to the support group. If a person associated with one of the teams made a public decision to follow Jesus in a worship service, church leaders highlighted their commitment as the results of the work of their deployed, sports-participating members.
Another church committed to being the primary provider of foster care families in their county. As families were trained and deployed through the state-funded, state-controlled system, the church formed a support group to troubleshoot problems and facilitate greater success among its families involved in this effort. Notice they did not form a parallel ministry. Instead this church has become the go-to source for foster care in their county, embraced by secular leaders and making a significant impact infiltrating never-before-touched segments of their community.
Christians with a robust faith must infiltrate public schools, sports programs, chambers of commerce, factory floors, country clubs, foster care systems, and countless other venues with the gospel. Believers who choose this path must be celebrated, not criticized, by church leaders and viewed as missionaries to their communities. These believers aren’t merely social workers or spiritual activists. They are gospel tellers who seek intentional ways to introduce Jesus to every person. They are more than a spiritual presence. They talk about Jesus, win converts, and make disciples. Their courage to go without a script—meeting people where they are on their terms—should be lauded and rewarded. When the results of their work become evident, wise church leaders celebrate the victories and encourage others to join the effort.
Jeff Iorg, Unscripted
I have just completed a series of lessons based on Jeff Iorg’s book, Unscripted. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year.