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04/28/2009

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Andy A.

Awesome questions Bro!

Dan Birch

Hey Dave,

wow, that dan guy seems amazing..;) Anyways I thought this was a great blog Dave. Working in "Campus Crusade for Christ" reach is a word thrown out everywhere.

First off, I think a lot of people hear "reach" as share the gospel either through the 4 laws, or some verbal expression of sinful/jesus/cross/resurrection. The problem with that is that it promotes a distorted view of REACH should mean. "Reach" should mean, the sharing of the gospel but also the REGENERATION of saving faith. Most people worry about numbers and are not focusing on the specific person that is lost. Let me give you an illustration:

"If Im on a college campus and walk into a cafeteria with 300 college students eating lunch, I stand on a chair and YELL out JESUS DIED FOR YOU SINS! would you say I just "REACHED" 300 students for christ? NO! Rather if I pick 1 student and talk about the gospel and spend my time with him, and he eventually excepts Christ as his savior in the cafeteria, then i've genuinely reached 1 PERSON FOR CHRIST!"

Its easy for people or an organization to TWIST what the word REACH is. I don't think its a bad word to use in a mission statement, but the MEANING of the word is getting lost and in some senses giving false hope to what a ministry is actually doing.

Follow me on twitter: "http://www.twitter.com/danomite84"

-Dan

dgoffeney

Thanks for your thoughts Dan. I fully agree that the word itself is great as long as the meaning is solidified and protected from a false understanding.

dgoffeney

Thanks Andy. If you have a chance to give your thoughts on the word i'd love to hear them. I look forward to seeing you guys this summer!

Josh Payne

Hey Dave. First just want to say that I really like where you are going with this series. I think it is a great conversation and should hopefully promote fruitful conversation. That said, I think I am going to disagree with that guy Dan Birch, whoever he is, and, from the sounds of it, you also, about the use of the word "reach" in christian circles. I like the definition found in the dictionary. All three of them. None of which suggest that there is any sort of mutual reaching or response by the object of the "reacher". To put it in terms of ministry. Dan says that reaching a person must include the "regeneration of saving faith". Although this would be great, it is not our job. We are responsible for "communicating with" or "making an impression upon" as the definition suggests. If I faithfully share the gospel, using whatever method, with every student in a particular dorm, and every student in that dorm chooses to stay in their sin, has that dorm not been reached? Of course it has! If the Spirit has not moved in any of their hearts to a saving faith, I can't do anything to change it. My goal, and I believe the goal of a ministry which strives to "reach" people is to show them the way to everlasting life, not to be responsible for their decision to walk through it. When we say we want to "reach every student", my understanding is that we strive to give them a clear presentation of the gospel and opportunity to respond. Unlike Dan's example of some weirdo who screams out some nonsense in a cafeteria. Any other understanding would make "reaching every student" an impossible task. Which may be your argument, but I would disagree. Hope this contributes to the discussion. That's all for round 1.

Josh Payne

I take back what I said about disagreeing with you Dave. I just re-read what you posted and don't know where you stand, only that you are passionate about your position, judging from your boiling blood. I am still disagreeing with Dan though, just to set the record straight.

Jen ip

Interesting thoughts... I think I would agree with dan however I would say that there is something about proclaiming Christ and not being able to see the fruit of that labor until ... Well heaven... Therfore then, that person or people group would have been reached. So I guess now it begs the question, is being reached something that you must see, measurable, or really just a term that helps motivate you and me to continue to "labor". Maybe that should be your next "word."

dgoffeney

Hey Josh, thanks for the great thought you put into the reply. It's getting late and I do want to reply with a clear head. I'm glad you saw that I was intentional to leave my thoughts unclear, but I do want to give an answer to my thoughts. In short, I think it's somewhere between what Dan posted and what you said. Jen Ip said some stuff that made a lot of sense. We cannot be responsible for the fruit produced, but if our sights are set too short on what it means to 'reach' the world, we will ultimately fail to see real fruit from our efforts. The commands in the Word always have to do with Lordship, rather than 'decisions', and I fear that we are straying from that perspective. Let me know your thoughts, but i'll reply again soon. Thanks again man for taking the time to chime in.

dgoffeney

Thanks so much Jen. We will indeed have to wait til heaven to see the reality of the fruit produced through our lives. However, I wrote a few things under Josh's reply that we would do well to consider. I'll let the conversation continue and continue to chime in as it goes.

Andy A.

Let my try and chime in a bit beyond just popping off with "awesome" and "Bro". I appreciate you bringing up the "reach" question Dave. I've had passing thoughts on this myself over the years and have been aware of using the word as in "reach the campus" and not really knowing what I was meaning. As I've read Dan (is that the guy from back in my Chico days :-)?), Josh and Jen, I think the discussion of "reach" in light of the Great Commission is a good one. But, Dave, when you write "In order to evaluate success vs failure we must know what we’re talking about" I wonder how much what we measure organizationally (Success criteria...and thus failure criteria) guides our use of "reach." When we "reach" students we certainly want it to show up as numbers on our reports. Anyway, just an initial thought.

Josh Payne

Yeah, I agree with you. I talked to Dan on campus today and i think we both gave a little on our previous comments. I for sure do not want to promote any definition of "reach" that does not include an "I would gladly spend and be spent for your souls" mentality. We should be willing to do whatever we possibly can to give every possible opportunity. I think what I need is an actual example of a situation where you have witnessed the abuse of the term "reach". I definitely agree that it could be used much too lightly or easily but I don't personally talk to people who would say, "As long as I say Jesus in a conversation one time then I have reached the person." Does that make sense? I guess my point is that the people whom I talk to about reaching a campus, or the world, or whatever seem to have the right heart and they don't seem to be selling the GC short. Please give me counterexamples if you have them, or if you want to. Thanks again.

Dan Birch

Hey Dave,

Well let me clarify what I meant by "regenerated" and you can sway back to agreeing with me, and disagreeing with Josh..:) I think my overall point was missed by the fact the Josh looked to much into the word of "regenerated."

Let me explain, my point was is that when we hear the word "REACH" our best, #1, TOP PRIORITY, MAIN OBJECTIVE should be to "REGENERATE A NON BELIEVER." So when I hear "hey how can we reach a student A?" I would say "I want to share the gospel with student A, and hope he makes a decision for christ." Now let me clarify, I don't believe that by reaching a campus you "regenerate" every student, but I am speaking AGAINST those who feel there #1, TOP PRIORITY, Main Objective, is to put a "Jesus sign on campus," "Pass out a 4 law" Preach the gospel with out any true investment, and say "hey I've reached the campus, I've passed out flyers for crusade, I've done an ice cream social." REACHING THE CAMPUS IS SO MUCH MORE! AND REQUIRES A WISE APPROACH TO WHEREVER YOUR MINISTRY FIELD IS. I agree with "josh" it really comes down to faithfulness. BUT FAITHFULNESS with WISDOM not Faithfulness with stupid ideas that think 2 hours of doing surveys every week is enough to REACH the campus. Before I rant:) Let me just write my final statement.

"The word REACH is a good word and vision statement for a mission of sharing Jesus with people. But your highest priority should be a invested effort to REACH the campus with multiple methods, and creative, that can lead to a regenerated heart. Most people set there goal of REACH with methods or tasks, and I believe to truly REACH a people with Jesus it requires so much more."

check out my twitter at : http://www.twitter.com/danomite84
pce!

Dan Birch

Hey Andy:)

Yes I'm that guy, I'll grown up..;) Hey but I think thats a great point. I really feel that our ways as an organization to measure REACH are flawed. For example, I just got back from leading a Trip to Australia. Which was amazing, but my email was flooded with STAT QUESTIONS. I really feel that when asked about stats its easy to exaggerate and judge a good missions trip purely on that. If I shared my faith with 2 people, and they received Christ, I few that more successful then sharing my faith with 2000 students and only have 1 person receive christ. I hate the culture of STATS within Crusade and I think that creates a false measure for the success of our organization, but thats other topic..:)

-Dan

Dan Birch

I meant "all grown up" at least not with spelling.;)

dgoffeney

Andy, thanks for chiming in. I fully agree with the numbers-based orientation we seem to have and how that pushes us to consider somebody/place 'reached' when it (or that person) may not be in the biblical sense.
I'm going to post my next blog later tonight, so i'll look forward to your thoughts on that one.

Nick Stewart

Dave and the gang-

Well, I guess more specifically to Josh, I think i have a example that you might be looking for. On the last night of "killing the giants" week at summer project, there was a guy who hadn't met his numerical goal he had set early on and he was determined to get it. So I decided to join him since I hadn't gone sharing with him and it's always interesting to observe how others go about sharing the gospel. After a couple hours of sharing, he met his goal and we went in so he could tally it. As i reflected on it later that night and even now, I am perplexed at how anyone can justify reaching a numberical goal simply by spitting out the name Jesus and eternity. I found that he was so focused on that goal, that sharing the gospel became less about actually "reaching" the lost and more about "achieving" his goal.

dgoffeney

Wow Nick, great example. I would have been inclined to defend the heart behind the week, and I still am for the most part, but I do think you have a great point that reflects the broken perspective we have. On the one hand, weeks like that push us to step outside of ourselves, and the end result is usually that more people are genuinely reached than when we sit around and wait for people to come to us (and that's not biblical). On the other hand, this does reveal how quickly consumed we can be with the numbers. I do still share 1 John 5:12 almost every time, because I trust God will use His word in ways I can't see, but we can't do that and think we're reaching our scope. Great thoughts Nick!

Dan Birch

WOW! Nick

Honestly, well said man. I think that story is a perfect example of the reality of CCC ministry at least. All I can say, we can't change thousands of people at a time, but as long as we focus on the way we do evangelism and raise up others in the same way, things can change so we really understand "reach."

ok Im done commenting on this blog:)

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