Faith Outreaches: Part 1
In our collective, the term ‘Faith Outreach’ is used to describe times when we put everything down and leave where we are staying (whether a camper van, or shared accommodation) for a period of time, stretching from as little as a few days to a few weeks, and sometimes for a month or more. Often we head off with just the clothes on our backs and possibly a few items in a backpack (e.g. a bible, toothbrush, penknife etc.). On other occasions it has included taking a tent or sleeping bag, and possibly some tracts to distribute. Faith Outreaches can be in urban or rural settings, and sometimes they can include a mixture of both.
Most people would agree that modern-day Christianity, as taught by most churches, bears little resemblance to the way of life practiced and taught by Jesus, his disciples and the early Churches. In the affluent West, in particular, the vast majority of professing Christians prefer to opt for financial security and social respectability, which can make stepping out of the comfort boat in faith a hard, even alien, prospect for most people to consider. However, ‘walking on water’ is what Jesus taught his followers to do, and it is what we should be doing and teaching others to do too.
Every aspect of our life is improved when we allow it to be governed by faith rather than fear. Whatever is not of faith is described as sin, which means ‘missing the mark’. The term ‘Living By Faith’ is often used within christian circles. However, when was the last time (if ever) that we took the time to ask God what we should be doing today, with a sincere willingness to do just that? Are we open to hearing Him say that we should drop our ‘nets’ (jobs, ambitions, careers, burdens etc.) in order to follow Him wherever He leads? If we are accustomed to planning more than our next meal is it possible that we have stopped trusting God and have started trusting in ourselves instead?
This article is an attempt to draw people back to the Way of Truth and Love taught 2000 years ago, and to demonstrate that these truths are as applicable and accessible today as they were when they were first taught, even though it can be hard to believe this.
We will start by looking at the scriptural basis for Faith Outreaches, followed by a look at the practicalities of experimenting with Faith Outreaches. If you are someone who does not consider yourself to have an active faith in God you may wish to skip over the next section (looking at the scriptural basis for Faith Outreaches) to the ‘Practical Considerations’ section. We are confident that you will find at least some thoughts and ideas expressed in this article to be helpful in your search for an alternative way of living and being.
Scriptural Basis for Faith Outreaches
Hebrews 11 is a must-read on the subject of faith. Verse 1 says; “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We tend to become obsessive about what we can see and touch. Often the way to find ‘certainty’ is to step out into uncertainty first. However, the world is set up around clearly labelled boxes, definitions and parameters, all of which can end up restricting our ability to reach for new spiritual heights.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (verse 6) If we act in fear we diminish our experience of life. Jesus said “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). How many of us truly believe this? And how many of us have taken the time to explore what this life entails, as lived and taught by Christ and his true followers.
Jesus said we can’t serve two masters (God or money) and that we have to make a clear choice about which one we will work for (Matthew 6:24). He directed us to “seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness”, making it clear that if we do, our basic needs of food and clothing would be met on a daily basis. We are told not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34); that we should pick up our cross daily (Luke 9:23); and that we should just ask for our “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) In effect, we are being taught to live hand-to-mouth in complete dependency on God.
In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out his 12 disciples (and later on, in Luke 10, Jesus sends out another 70 disciples) with various guidelines, including the instruction to share the message with people and not to take any money, or thought for how they will be provided for during the journey. He says, “… for the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:10), which goes to show that if we work for God, he will provide us with food and anything else we need, in order to get the job done.
How many of us believe that God is able to provide everything we need? How many of us want to let go of the things we don’t really need, which are probably responsible for why we are choosing not to be dependent on Him? Jesus said “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”. (Luke 9:58). Could our fear of circumstances (like sleeping rough) be getting in the way of us walking in the footsteps of Christ?
Jesus said: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”. (Luke 12:32) The real question is, do we actually believe this?
In Hebrews 13:8, Paul says: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. The truth is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. The only thing that has changed is that there are considerably fewer people who actually believe this now. (Luke 18:8)
We are sending this article out as a kind of message in a bottle hoping that it will find the rare individual who does believe, and who has the courage and desire to act on this belief as well.