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Pete Ward in God at the Mall argues for two student outreach methods: 1) Inside/Out and 2) Outside/In.

Inside/Out Evangelism

Pete Ward in God at the Mall argues for two student outreach methods:  1)  Inside/Out and 2) Outside/In.

The goal of the Outside/In method is to locate a group of youth who are outside of the church and attempt to assimilate these non-believers into the Christian body.  For example, a youth ministry can do a concert and pizza at the church and invite the regular attenders of youth group to invite their non-believer friends.

The goal of the Inside/Out method starts with the core youth group students and they move outside the walls of church to reach out to non-believer students.

The different between these two methods is the place where the evangelism is taking place.  Do you prefer the evangelism to happen in the church setting?  Or outside of the church?

I strongly argue that evangelism needs to happen outside the walls of the church.  Why?

1.  Challenges student and youth pastor to get outside of their Christian/youth group bubble and talk to non-believers on their terms and turf.  Generally, Christian bubble students and youth pastors are extremely awkward, offended, intimidated, and overwhelmed when interacting with non-Christians.  In a sense youth groups and youth pastors build a youth ministry department that is only insider friendly and develop an exclusive-members, holy huddle youth group.

2.  Invites youth pastor and students to be well versed in consumer culture so they educate themselves on how to maneuver in and out of the “world”.  When you go outside the church walls, it encourages the yp and youth group to dialogue with the themes of postmodernism and probably will force them to strategically and creatively think of ways to care for non-believer students.

3.  Allows students and youth pastor to assess the worldly themes that are present in their community.  Every local community has tradition, sin patterns, and culture.  Observe where the strongholds are within the community.

4.  Encourages students and youth pastor to assess the needs of the community.  Going outside of the church walls exposes what the needs are of the community.  Maybe there is a lot of trash on the streets?  retirement homes that need volunteers?  park clean up?

5.  Sometimes when a student enters a church, his/her defensive walls immediately go up.  There are many misconceptions about the church and Christians.  For example the church is judgmental, negative, political, arrogant, homophobic, full of fundamentalist who believe the Bible is literal, dominated by males and oppresses females, etc… When we talk to non-believers on their turf they are more likely to open up and see us (Christians) as normal people instead of weird and negative people.

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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One comment

  1. When we go ‘out’, what is our goal? I know that the correct answer if that we take the gospel/Kingdom of God etc. But, really do we want to get ‘them’ ‘in’. Into our church culture, christian sub culture. If we go out to convert people to our church then we take a whole load of baggage (I would hate to see the local Emos that hang around the park singing Hillsongs…yuk). However maybe a 3rd way is (as Richard Passmore puts it) ‘In front’! Where we meet with young people on their turf and seek to form new expressions of church indigenously within that group. This strategy is full of issues (as I have found out) but no more then than the issues that come when we try to enforce our church sub culture onto another. Have a look at http://www.fyt.org.uk/showdetails,project,3.htm

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