Home christian living How Then Do We Reach the Lost?

How Then Do We Reach the Lost?

by Kelly Crawford

I think it’s obvious, as we unravel the argument of what the church is to be about, we end up being forced to admit that our theology is the basis for our conclusions. And if you are like we were, you may be forced to revisit the basis of your very theology.

I’m not diving into theology. For one, I’m still very much a novice student. And with all the varying doctrines represented in readership here, I don’t think it’s very wise 😉

Having said that, I hoped to clarify for the readers who are aghast at my proposal that the church is primarily for believers. I still hold to this belief, as I see the model clearly in Scripture.

What then, is our role in the Great Commission? How do we tangibly reach the lost if not through outreach programs at church? (Keep repeating my point…”I am not advocating isolation Christianity!”)

This is where I think our humanness gets largely in the way of God’s divine work. Just because we can’t map it all out and put all the numbers neatly into our roster, doesn’t mean God’s purposes are not being fulfilled in terms of reaching the lost!

What does He require of us?

“To love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly with our God.”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

“In as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness;”

“Go and teach all nations…”

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church; wives, be reverent unto your husbands.”

“Children obey your parents in the Lord.”

“Be given to sound doctrine and hold fast the word of faith.”

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.”

“Be given to hospitality; distributing to the necessity of the saints.”

“Whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report…think on these things.”

I could go on and on…these few things just come to mind. We live, we serve the Lord, and we meet the divine opportunities that He places all around us to “give an answer for the hope that is within us.”

And the rest, we believe, and relinquish to God. We do what He has given us to do. And we trust His ways, even if we think we could be more effective.

And when the world sees people who love each other, and are characterized by peace, joy, patience and kindness, when they see husbands and wives who love each other, siblings who like each other, children who joyfully obey their parents–when we cultivate the relationships He has given to us first, the miracle of The Great Commission unfolds in our lives. We then, without even being able to help it, “come out from among them and are separate.”

(And some will be called to specific ministry; foreign missions, singleness, etc.)

And those around us take notice. And they see something different. And we’re able to point them to our Savior–“not what we have done…but God’s grace alone.”

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Kim M. July 24, 2008 - 10:58 pm

Being “different” IS TRULY one of the (or maybe THE) best way to start a conversation about Christ. People will walk up and ask you…

Stephanie July 25, 2008 - 5:52 am

You are absolutely right on! I pray more families would work on living rightly and shining their light through their families then investing their time in the next outreach program at church. These things can be good, but they take time and focus off of the best things. Increasingly churches are using the worlds methods to attract the lost. The numbers may increase, but is their true salvation or false assurance?

Dee Huber May 2, 2011 - 4:26 pm

As you have said, “the church is primarily for believers” – YES! I wholeheartedly agree, and so do the scriptures! In fact – BY DEFINITION Jesus’ True Church is ONLY made up of believers! As the bible tells us: Christ is The Head of The Body (His Church!!). He is not the ‘head’ over unbelievers. However, in the interest of ‘bringing in’ outsiders, many of the churches that ‘men’ are the heads of, which desire to make themselves ‘grow’ have implemented very worldly techniques which appeal to the flesh of those who only walk in the flesh. The result is false converts, and false assurance of salvation – as well as a corrupting and ‘leavening’ of what is supposed to be pure (the Body of Believers!) Our enemy is having a hey-day with this. We are not smarter, more loving, and more clever than God… HIS way is the ONLY way! I encourage those who see this happening to “come out from among them” – and gather together with those who desire to have GOD bring the increase through His mighty Power to save!… “And THE LORD added to their number”… this is the way; walk in it! 🙂

Rachel Ramey July 12, 2011 - 8:13 pm


I think that sometimes people confuse “not catering to the lost through the church meeting” with “making lost people unwelcome in the church meeting.” The Bible makes clear that both should be true – it should be normal for the church meeting to consist of the saints, but if a lost person comes in, he should be welcome!

shannon August 8, 2013 - 10:58 am

Hi Kelly. This is going to get long but I’ll try to be concise. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and very much enjoy it. I point that out because I am not trying to be an antagonistic, I just really struggle with TRUTH in this area of ministry and want you to realize I didn’t come searching for this post to be an antagonist; I truly wonder…Anyway, I have two children with one on the way and though we have not attended a family-integrated church, I have chosen to keep my children in the services with me. I enjoy it and they do too.

However, I have been blessed in times past to serve in a church with an active bus ministry for kids and teens (adults were of course welcome but rarely came). Having worked first hand with the youth, I was able to witness many get saved, baptized and begin their Christian life. We encouraged prayer, separation, scripture memory, and bible reading throughout the week. I believe many of these children would not have come to know the Lord had they not been saved through the bus ministry. My husband was the youth pastor and catered the lessons to the saved (as is the church’s job, I certainly agree) but would mention salvation throughout and have an invitation often as well.

I agree that all of the above in your list are commands of Christians. Of course! We ought to do those things but in doing those things, when are verbally giving the gospel as Jesus did to Nicodemus or the woman at the well? Through our actions alone, no one will be saved. They must learn about Jesus and salvation somehow. When are these conversations taking place? I attend a church with a soul-winning program. We go door-to-door telling people about Jesus, giving the gospel. We have seen souls saved this way and it seems a good way to reach people that wouldn’t be otherwise reached while helping church to be a place to edify the saints.

To sum it up if you’ve made it this far and my questions are hard to decifer (even for me, ha!), when are people being led to the Lord? When are they being told about Jesus besides seeing how we are Christlike?

Word Warrior August 8, 2013 - 8:22 pm


I’m not ignoring you 😉 I’m just trying to find the time to re-read the post (it’s an older one) and answer you. Stay tuned…

shannon August 9, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Um, and you’ve got a sweet new little one too if I remember right;) It’s really just my own processing at this point. I had started by reading your post yesterday on “extending the gospel beyond our homes” and my mind had already been reeling on outreach ministries within the church this week anyway.

Rereading my comment, I had mentioned having my children in the service with me and that seems completely irrelevant to the rest of what I had asked. I sort of have those tied in together, children’s ministry/nursery and other outreach ministries because it seems churches now have two different extremes. Children’s ministries and outreach so huge that every member is involved in at least one program and many times lots of other programs or having no programs like that at all. I’m just not sure it’s that black and white. I know that if it’s sin to bring people in (dressing immodestly to make people feel more comfortable, blaring rock music that sounds no different than the world’s music), than of course it is wrong. But this area seems a little grey.

Ideally I think having contact with those outside of our church is very beneficial but I also avoid too much mingling as I guard my children and even myself so much. And, we live in the country where “neighbor” means someone a mile away, though I do try to get to know them. I also think having families bring children or another family to church is ideal but that rarely seems to happen too. Sorry to ramble, it just seems like this isn’t an area where it’s black and white (and I wish it were so that would be easier. ha)

Word Warrior August 9, 2013 - 4:33 pm


So, re-reading the post and your comment/questions, I see the answer. You mentioned that we must verbally share the gospel, like Jesus did. In the post I said,

“We live, we serve the Lord, and we meet the divine opportunities that He places all around us to “give an answer for the hope that is within us.”

That’s how He did it. He didn’t go door to door or establish programs (I’m not saying either of those are bad). He lived his life, cultivated relationships and then shared the truth with those people in his path.

I think that’s the primary way he has given us to reach the lost. There are other ways (I mentioned foreign missions, for example, in the post), but this organic way that Jesus evangelized is, I believe, the most effective.

I will note too, that I believe God is the only one who can call someone to Himself. We do the telling, the living, the sharing, but He is solely responsible for the calling and the saving.

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37

I don’t know if that helps you think through it anymore, but I’m afraid we can do more damage than good when we try so hard to save the lost (we end up with multitudes of false converts who believe they are saved because they felt pressured and prayed a prayer), instead of trusting Him and sharing the gospel and believing He will bring His elect to Himself through our obedience. Make sense?

shannon August 12, 2013 - 8:20 am

Thank you for your response. Yes, now I see where you are coming from. I’m afraid we have a foundational difference then and that makes sense. I believe that Jesus is willing that all should come to repentance and “whosoever will may come”. Further reading the chapter you quoted “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” John 6:40. I can see where having these two different beliefs would impact outreach in different ways.


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