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Outreach looks different depending on which side of the pulpit you spend Sunday mornings. In my last pastorate, one of our young men met me for a hamburger one night, and after some chitchat said, "My wife and I are going to start looking for another church."

I asked why.

"You're emphasizing your plan for outreach too much. You need to pay more attention to the needs of those who come to church on Sunday morning."

With difficulty I kept from shouting, "Are you telling me we shouldn't focus on reaching out to people who don't know Jesus?"

Because he was a committed Christian, his comment baffled me. I assumed every conscientious Christian was either passionate about the Great Commission or at least took vicarious satisfaction from a church and pastor who were.

The next day, as I recalled my preaching and leadership over previous months, I recognized how some could take offense, not at the Great Commission, but at how I wanted to go about the Great Commission. I had designed a seven-step strategy ...

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From Issue:Fall 1991: Outreach
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