One of the challenges of being a church for unchurched people is that you don’t meet unchurched people in church. Until they’ve interacted with or been invited by one of us, they’re not interested. Which means that we can’t hole up inside our four walls and expect outsiders to come knock on our doors.
Luckily, Jesus gave us a pretty clear game plan. And it doesn’t require awkward evangelism or a clever sign in front of your building. It just takes a little love.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
The early church got this right, “loving one another” by caring for the most needy and desperate among them. Their version of no-strings attached generosity was what drew people to Jesus. It was how they reached the unchurched.
We think the same can be true today. Extraordinary generosity is the most attractive form of evangelism. It causes people to lean in. It changes the perception of the church. It puts us shoulder to shoulder with folks who would never wander through our doors on their own.
Ten years ago we decided to put a framework around what we think is the church’s imperative to be generous. We call it Be Rich (thanks to Paul’s urging in his letter to Timothy that the early Christians should “be rich in good deeds…be generous and willing to share.”) And during the annual effort, we mobilize people to give, serve, and love.
What we’ve seen in the decade since Be Rich launched is that it grows the faith of the folks who give their time and money. It grows our church’s influence in the community. But most importantly, it’s a game-changer for our nonprofit partners and a life-changer for those they serve.
For so many people—especially unchurched people—religion is just sermons and songs. But we’ve found that putting some action behind our faith makes that faith more attractive to others. Which means that generosity (in time, money, and service) should be the hallmark of any church that’s serious about reaching and welcoming unchurched people through their doors.
Last year, 41 churches representing over 90,000 people participated in Be Rich. See the extraordinary collective generosity that was unleashed in the following celebration video. Would your church be interested in joining the network of churches being rich in their own communities? Click here to read the details and start the conversation.
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