Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Or "Brown's Guide to Outreach."

One of the things that seems to be popping up more and more is a focus on immediate conversion - we have to go out and win souls for Jesus because people are dying and going to hell and if we don't stop them they will burn forever! That seems to be the attitude, the feel that I get. Think about it. Do not appeals and exhortations to "mission" seem almost. . . panicked? As though if you don't knock on 15 doors this very hour billions of people will burn forever?

Thus - I say - Don't panic.

Let's remember a few things about how we go about outreach.

1 - Busily working doesn't mean panic. You watch a farmer try to bring in their harvest. They are busy. They are diligent. They work hard - but they don't panic. Yes, the fields are white and harvest waiting - so we go and work - we speak the Gospel - but we don't panic. Besides, if you panic, you get sloppy. You don't work as well. You rush by and get sloppy.

2 - Whoever said results are immediate? We teach that the Holy Spirit works faith through the Word when and where *HE* wills. You speak to a friend or a neighbor today. That doesn't mean that they will be in Church this Sunday with the Catechism completely memorized. It may take time. Rather than thinking of what must be done now - look around at your friends, indeed, even perhaps your own life. How many times do you see examples of where someone wandered long and far before being brought or restored to the Christian faith? This happens - why the Holy Spirit allows it - I don't know, I'm not God. But let God be God. Speak the Word faithfully, calmly, lovingly - and let God do what God wants to.

3 - It's not your work anyway. See - this isn't to say that Christians should be silent and say nothing - quite the opposite, we are to speak. However, we need to remember "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives within me." We need to remember that Christ has other sheep that He is going to gather - perhaps even through you. But it is God, ultimately who is active. Outreach isn't a burden on you - it's not something to get all worked up or freaked out about. Our Lord will give you His Words to speak when He wishes you to speak them. Study, learn, be prepared for this - but don't panic about it.

Outreach should be like breathing - just something that we do casually, calmly, as a matter of course. In fact, it should be something that we end up doing not even thinking about it. Now - what would happen if you panicked and started thinking, "Oh, I've got to keep breathing, got to breathe faster, got to breathe faster"? You'd hyperventilate and pass out. No air, flat you go.

Likewise - when it comes to speaking the Gospel - don't panic. Simply let Christ use you - otherwise in your panic you'll not take His Word in nor will you share it.

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