How do you use the term "outreach" as a church?

One common frustration I experience is not being able to communicate clearly because of changing terminology.  I am among those who believe that terms need to be defined specifically -- and definitions not switched midstream.

I have noted many words change meaning and become moving targets -- one person using them one way, another another way, and then switching midstream to a third.  The word "worship" comes to mind, as does "passion" (which once typically meant something bad).  Language is living, and words change meaning (think of the word "gay"), but it gets confusing trying to talk at a high level when words keep sliding this way and that. And once words having floating definitions, communication becomes a farse.

The new word I have trouble with is the word "outreach."  What does and does not constitute outreach?  If you hand a gospel tract to someone, most of us would say that is outreach. If you have an AWANA program where the Gospel is frequently communicated, I think we would all agree that is outreach. But does your church helping someone in the neighborhood with the lawn constitute outreach, even if no one shares the gospel?  Or is that merely something good that comes under the category of showing mercy and loving others (but not outreach)?  Does participating in a community clean up day constitute outreach, even if no one shares the gospel?  I am for doing good things because we are to love others; I personally, however, do not consider good works the same thing as outreach.

Personally, I think that whenever a member of a church witnesses (at work, to a friend/neighbor/relative), that is an outreach of that church (the church is the people).  I also think that this is the way most people are brought into the Kingdom, and poses the best possibility for converts to become actual disciples. There is outreach substance, and there is outreach IMAGE.  But then there is actual outreach (that is not just image) that sometimes occurs through a collective effort. And that is how we are narrowing our question.

How do you use the term outreach?  Please select the CLOSEST answer.  I know many of you are more serious about precision than even I am!  Choose "other" only if the other options do not even approximate your view.  Of course it can vary with the situation.  But what option is closest to your initial instinct, your rounded-off view?


Outreach involves sharing or attempting to share the Gospel message.
14% (2 votes)
Outreach includes the above, but also includes inviting people to a special event where the Gospel is preached/taught.
21% (3 votes)
Outreach is letting others see that the love of Jesus is in you by acts of mercy.
0% (0 votes)
Outreach is letting others see that the love of Jesus is in you by acts of mercy.
0% (0 votes)
Outreach is promoting your church and getting your name out there (PR)
7% (1 vote)
All or most of the above
57% (8 votes)
None of the above
0% (0 votes)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 14
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