We stand for OUTWARD FOCUS.
Our leadership team recently finished a study on values for Mt Olive and they were presented to the congregation last February. The more we solidify our course around these values, the more unified we become as a body of Christ and the more influential we will be in our community as a dynamic force for good—for the sake of sharing the gospel.
We stand for OUTWARD FOCUS.
Everything we do at Mount Olive focuses outward in love. A major component of the gospel-transformed life is a selfless, outward-facing love for others. Jesus-followers are an engaged, active, and generous community who love and serve God and others because of his great love for them.
There is one very sure indication of a church that will soon die. There is no outward focus.
But how do we get from pew-sitters who truly believe that Jesus is the answer to our eternal entrance into paradise . . . to ACTIVE believers turning our attention to someone on the outside of our building?
1: Have a Heart.
Do you care if that boy at the MOA got tossed off the third floor balcony or not? I’m sure you do. What if you could have prevented it in some way? Would you have stood by and said, “Maybe someone else is more capable or more of a guardian or more of a “yeller” or could dial 911 better than I”? NO! My guess is you would have used all your resources to prevent that cute, little 5-year-old from being so physically and emotionally traumatized.
What about hell? How does that compare? I don’t want to downplay the horrific and gross disrespect for life that was displayed. I DO want to point out the eternal sadness that will envelope a person once they leave earth without the knowledge of a Savior who has already purchased heaven’s ticket for them. Do you have a heart for them? I know you do. So let’s start there and develop a list of the people you want to see in heaven [and may not be currently heading there].
God gave us prayer not to change him, but to change us. The more we pray, God does actively work for good. He heals, he redirects the route of cancerous cells, he upsets the apple cart of the evil one. Keep praying. But also keep praying for that particular person(s) and you will eventually find yourself so impassioned to get up and talk to them, build a relationship with them, have dinner with them, go on a walk with them, walk their dog for them - in short, you will do anything to build a connection between you and them and in turn, they will see you care. They will learn to trust you. They will begin to check out your life and your interests. They may even ask you about that grouping of cars at your house on every other Tuesday evening. Or they may wonder why your calendar takes you out of the house at 8 AM every Sunday morning. They may even start asking you why you are so at peace in your life.
But that won’t happen until you care enough about them and pray about them and pray for opportunities to engage them. It’s NOT always words that evangelize—it’s also actions.
3: Take steps to know them better.
See the above paragraphs.
AND, don’t make them a project. Jesus purposely saw the woman, the man, the hurting, the dying, and approached them with a lump in his throat and an ache in his belly (esplanknisthay - a real Greek term used to describe the pain he felt in his gut towards the hurting). Jesus did not see an inanimate project; he saw real souls, real people.
One quick caveat before I enter into the topic of outreach or outward focus. That is: as a church, we need all of the preceding values to be in place (Jesus, focus on God‘s Word, honest faith journeys, and transformational living). If those are not in place, outward focus has no roots or soil in which to grow. In other words, you won’t care.
4: Join Mount Olive and its outreach efforts.
We have been pushing as the Council to establish a solid basis in our church so that we can be an outreach church. Right now we are on the cusp of doing even more outreach events than we have done in past years. Look for them, ask about them, engage with the committees and leaders as they are planned and executed. Find ways of donating time, energy, attitude, money, . . . whatever it takes. God has placed you here to be united with this group of concerned disciples so that, in our group efforts (and personal efforts), we could share Jesus by making contact with a world he loves.
Thanks for your time, and blessings as you take the next steps in your connection to Jesus and his bride, the Church.