“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Jesus in Luke 14:23 RSV). The first thing we need to take note of in this verse is the command to “go out.” We cannot reach others merely by opening the doors of our churches and trying to “think” people in.
For folks to hear “ya’ll come,” “we’ all” have to “go out” and invite them — invite them to receive Jesus — and invite them to His house. His house is both the local church for worship and His heavenly house.
To “go out” requires everyone in the church to reach out to others — friends, family, acquaintances — everyone you meet on the highways and hedges. There’s just no way our corps officers or church leaders can build up a solid congregation on their own. People need to connect with the person of Jesus. Dedicated soldiers of Christ must share the gospel and their testimony of what the Lord has done in their lives. This will make real converts who will enter into the life of the church.
Early Salvationists understood this mandate for outreach. They scoured the streets of London, lifting up the fallen, encouraging the weary and wounded. In other words, they got interested in God’s mission to reach out. And God got interested in them and poured out His Spirit upon them and their work.
Please forgive me if I offend; that isn’t my intention. But we’ve become a rather soft army [of believers] over the years, me included. It seems we think the world must come to us instead of us going to the world.
Well, in my best Dr. Phil imitation, let me ask, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
Answer: It isn’t.