Carol Howard Merritt over at Tribal Church has a great post about how to really reach our neighbors with the Gospel. It's not advertising, posters, mailings, etc... (though they have some function), but it's relational, patient, and just... involved.
...The heart of reaching out to people is listening and telling stories... I find that some of the deepest moments in our church come when people begin recognize the spiritual struggles in their lives, and then they form them into words. It’s like putting clothes on a ghost... Then people learn to tell our community about them. And as they speak, they are forming the story, as the story forms them...
...you hang out. Eat lunch away from your desk... at the coffee house... [at] the local bookstore. Take daily walks through the street surrounding the church. Listen and pray for people. Figure out who’s in your neighborhood, and what they might need.
Actually, the members of the church begin to sense this. It’s all very viral. Because soon, people begin to talk to their friends... And, the friend will show up. It may take a year after the initial invitation, but she usually does.
On Wednesday nights right now at Good Shepherd, we are practicing listening to each other and telling "our story" because each of us represents one piece of God's larger story. We're trying to get comfortable with the everyday language of faith so that we might get up and get out into our neighborhoods to engage some of the relational "searchlight" ministry Carol has described. Come be a part of God's story in the world!