The Danger of Complexity in Outreach

I was at a gas station the other day and there were too many options.

Do you want a car wash?

Is this credit or debit?

Enter your zip code.

Enter your PIN.

Do you want to donate money to a charitable organization?

What kind of gas do you want?

Do you want a receipt?

I was so confused. Sure, some of it was kind of necessary. But the abundance of options obscured what I was really wanting. All of this wasn’t what I came to do. After about six or seven options, I said, “I just want gas.”

We sometimes do the same thing to people in the church.

Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?

Baptism by immersion or sprinkling?

Have you kissed dating goodbye? Or on the mouth?

Do you believe in all the gifts of the Spirit or only 73% of them?

And then we wonder why they’re confused. It’s probably because they’re thinking, “this isn’t what I came here for. I don’t know all that. I just want Jesus.”

Right here is where we usually write them off by saying they don’t care about the Bible or theology. Possibly. But maybe they just don’t care about debating and taking stances on secondary issues at the expense of their primary desire: Jesus.

This isn’t to say that these things don’t matter or that their inherent beliefs aren’t worth considering. There’s a place for them. Behind the bold, clear proclamation of Christ.

If you’re going to err, err on the side of simply giving people Jesus.

Because that’s simply what most people want.

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Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church. In just under seven years, Elevation Church grew to more than 12,000 people in weekly attendance, meeting at seven locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Elevation has been named one of the fastest growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.

Pastor Steven has been privileged to minister to a global audience, speaking at conferences and churches around the world, including Catalyst Conference, Hillsong Conference, and the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. He is the author of the best selling book “Sun Stand Still” and the New York Times Best-Selling follow-up, “Greater.” Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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