Guest blog from February 5, 2020, by Nate Miller, Pastor of Worship & Youth, First Baptist Church – Sycamore.
Why Inreach? … Our high school group is getting ready for the much-anticipated winter retreat this weekend. The middle schoolers are still talking about everything that happened at their Blizzard retreat last month. So why do we go on these weekend getaways that cost money, take time to get to and pack the equivalent of four church services into a weekend?
“Why was it so vital that Jesus take the 12 away and not invite everyone? Even worse, why did He only give special invites to Peter, James and John for incredible encounters like the transfiguration?
Studying the life of Christ one starts to wonder if He would last as a pastor with some of his decisions. He did things that many churches would call into question. Specifically I’m referring to the habit he had of leaving the crowd behind to connect with a smaller group. Why was it so vital that He take the 12 away and not invite everyone? Even worse, why did He only give special invites to Peter, James and John for incredible encounters like the transfiguration? Obviously it would have been better if the whole 12 or 72 had been there, right? Apparently not. Remember that Jesus also wasn’t playing favorites, as James and John learned after their request for VIP seating in Mark 10:35-45.
Because we value our students as co-laborers in ministry we need to be intentional about building into them. The inreach-focused retreats that Jesus modeled as part of His disciple making process give us that opportunity. We do require that students actually come to youth group to be eligible to go on the retreat. Normally exclusivity is something youth leaders try to make sure is never associated with their group. We are looking to reach the lost, and as a result, much of our activity is focused towards outreach. Retreats are directed at taking the committed “12” away from our normal routine to pour into them and give openings for God to speak to us away from all the distractions.
Balance is key. A truly outreaching church is one that is being built up through intentional inreach. Lukewarm is a good term for a group that only looks inward and fails to reach out. We are striving not to entertain, but to meet people where they’re at whether they are walking with God or are brand new to church. There are many needs to be met and questions to be answered, and that takes a well rounded ministry. Our desire is to make disciples who are growing in Christ, active in the church and seeking to bring the gospel to everyone they meet. Sunday night I’m going to be extremely tired, but I pray it will be worth it, and I hope you’ll be joining with us in prayer as well.