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What's Wrong with Outreach: Reexamining Evangelism, Discipleship,and the Purpose of Christian Life Paperback – November 29, 2012
From the Author
Thank you for checking out What's Wrong with Outreach. This book encapsulates a lifetime of experience in the evangelical church, from small churches to large. My hope is that pastors and church leaders will reassess what the mandate for the church really is--what the Great Commission really entails--and recognize what large-scale outreach efforts and pressure to evangelize does to people in their congregations, especially people who are gifted for other types of ministry or who have more introverted personalities. The question is, is the outreach pressure in evangelicalism justified by scripture?
We send out a message that everyone who is really serious about his or her faith will be an extroverted evangelist, and that those who don't feel comfortable in that role simply need to become more committed and "get out of their comfort zones." I've dealt with that message all my life, and I'm convinced that it's counterproductive. It sucks the joy out of Christian life and invalidates the gifts of all but a narrow group of believers. If we're all allowed to to be who God made us and exercise the gifts we've been given, we can together fulfill the larger message of the Great Commission, making disciples, which includes everything from showing love to people who are hostile or indifferent to the gospel, all the way to sophisticated theological instruction and practical relational discipleship.
The domination of people's social lives by the church is a secondary theme developed in the later chapters. Churches under persecution thrive and grow despite being unable to do the kinds of organized outreaches common among churches in the West. I'm convinced that part of the reason for this is that churches under persecution cannot dominate their people's social lives, and so you don't have the problem you do with the church in America of people having their entire circle of friends composed entirely of believers. We can't be salt and light to the world if our lives are dominated by the church. Participation as individuals in community clubs, classes, and activities that we like can be far more effective in creating relationships to reach people than organized church outreaches. But we can't do that if we end up spending all our time involved in church activities.
I hope that you like What's Wrong with Outreach, that it helps you evaluate yourself and your ministry in more biblical terms, and that you can find joy in becoming who you were meant to be--not the cookie-cutter version that someone else, no matter how well intentioned, told you that you should be.
About the Author
Keith Edwin Schooley grew up in the Detroit area. He attended Wayne State University where he began as a physics major and ended with an honors English degree. He worked as an editor for Gale Research, Inc. on their Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism series before leaving to earn a Master’s degree in New Testament Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He and his wife Cecile together have six children. Keith has pastored a church in Brimley, a small town in Michigan’s upper peninsula; taught literature and biblical studies at William Tyndale College and at the Assemblies of God Central Bible College; counseled and taught at the Teen Challenge Training Center in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania; and presently lives in Livonia, Michigan with his family.
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