I’ve asked Ryan Porche, my co-worker in our church starting efforts, to contribute to the blog this week. Enjoy. CK
We are grateful, as always, for your prayers on our behalf. Next time, Charles will write about creating margin in ministry. For this week, I (Ryan) want to write about what I’m learning about outreach.
Lately, my paradigms for outreach have been attacked (and this is a good thing). I used to see outreach as sending people out to invite more people back in. Granted, even in college, I began to see how the invitation “back in” was much better received when it occurred in the context of genuine relationship. But I was still approaching these relationships with the idea that I had everything to give. I know, I know…such humility! Actually, it’s embarrassing.
You see, as Claudia and I have begun making invitations to our Uptown neighbors, we’ve been surprised at how many—in the same instance of introducing themselves—have invited us into their homes for drinks and conversation. But I’m even more surprised at my own resistance to these invitations! After all, this is not what I had in mind! You’re supposed to come to our apartment so we can get to know you. And the words of a friend begin to echo in my head: what if we need to belong to them before we ever ask them to belong to us?
Ah. Now that’s a question. A one-sided relationship is not much of a relationship. I have realized how important it is for me to see the new people I meet as those who have something to offer me, rather than the other way around. So I embark with a new perspective this week: I’m looking for opportunities to learn and to belong. Rather than starting a new group of guys to play hoops at the park, I will join those already gathered. Rather than schedule as many people over for dinner as possible, we will leave margin to accept the invitations from others.
And as I write, my mind floods with stories of Jesus accepting the hospitality of others. May those who show hospitality to the Kisers and the Porches encounter Christ in us.