The Outreach That Reached Back
By Brittany Carter, Impact12 blogger
The Day of Outreach is an Impact Movement national conference tradition. Each year this afternoon of service provides conferees with an opportunity to give action to the faith that they have been developing and working through, challenging young believers to ask and the answer the question, “Do I really believe this?” We live in a culture where two main approaches define how we manage knowledge: intense pride produced from thinking we know everything or trepidation produced from being convinced we know nothing at all. We either walk around with an exaggerated confidence or constantly second guess ourselves. Neither of these are God’s desire for us. At Impact12, we were not been confronted with complex intellectual material that is questionable and up for debate. Rather we were confronted with the enduring truths of the infallible words of a God who cannot lie!
As we allowed those truths to shine light into the darkest places in our hearts and speak into the depths of our spirits, we felt the conviction and responsibility do what Christ did – make them available to everyone. Packed into yellow school buses and equipped with boxes of donated food, we were sent to various neighborhoods in the New Orleans community on December 31st and connected with local churches that knew those neighborhoods best. We ate, communed, and prayed with the church members before partnering with them to engage in both street and door-to-door evangelism. It was the finest and most effective example of indigenous ministry that I’ve ever seen.
When we returned to the conference that night, we split into small groups where we were able to process the experience of sharing our faith (some of us for the very first time) in an intimate setting. People recounted stories of being invited into homes and consoling weeping women who felt God tugging at their hearts, praying with young brothers on the street who were unsure of their faith, and the joy of being able to meet the material needs of the community with food as they were also opening the door for God to meet spiritual needs.
“It’s crazy how so many of us came here for different agendas – some for boys, some for food, some for New Orleans – and now, we’re all on the same agenda,” said the young woman sitting to my left. Even in her brevity, she summed up how everyone felt with such precision. Today we realized that the truth of the Gospel supersedes it all. It overwhelms our base desires. It re-directs our selfish ambition. As is the supernatural nature of God-centered service, when we reached out to others, the Lord reached out and pulled us back to Him.