Yesterday at United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle, we focused on the subject of International Outreach. I preached on “Why should I care about outreach?” from 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2. In that passage, Paul describes the task of ministry and what our motivation should be for carrying it out.
Our task: As Christ’s ambassadors, we persuade, implore, and urge others to believe the good news of the gospel.
Our motivation: Because Christ loved us enough to die for us, we want share this vital, urgent message with as many as we can.
I closed the message by asking the congregation to take the “1-4-10 Challenge.” Pray for 1 Person, 4 Requests, 10 Weeks.
1 Person – Rather than pray for all the non-Christians an individual might be acquainted with, I suggested each person pick one person who needs Christ that they would pray for.
4 Requests – I suggested they pray 4 requests, each of which comes out of 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2.
God, please help me:
- appreciate the cost of my salvation. Paul said that he was controlled by Christ’s love for him (5:14). If we had a better understanding and appreciation of what Jesus paid for our salvation, we would be more motivated to share the gospel, not out of a sense of duty, but out of love for Christ.
- see the person as you do. Paul said that he no longer judged people according to outward appearance (5:16). Instead, he looked at people in terms of their spiritual needs.
- believe that you can change them. Too often, we don’t share the gospel because we assume, “They will never change.” The good news of the gospel is that God changes people (5:17).
- share the message of salvation with them. God has appointed us as Christ’s ambassadors (5:20) and given us the task of sharing the message of hope with the world.
10 Weeks – From now until January 1 is 10 weeks.
I made commitment cards available and asked people to take two cards. They would fill out and keep one card as a reminder of who/what they were praying for. The second card would be filled out and returned to me so that I could pray along with them for that person. In addition, I said I would mail the card back to them in 30 days as a way of them holding themselves accountable to their commitment.
Later on that afternoon, I realized that all of the prayer requests were asking God to change me as opposed to changing the person who needs Christ. Then again, isn’t that where evangelism starts? I need to care about outreach enough to step outside of my comfort zone and share what God has done for me.
In January, we can hopefully look back and rejoice at what God has done.