A Practical Guide for Priests and Pastors, Part 3
3. REACH OUT
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
A. It is important that people feel comfortable and welcome in the church. Ushers and greeters should make sure members and especially visitors feel at home. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy welcome people to the church and parish.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 12:1
B. When instructional classes, seminars, food festivals or other special events occur, circulate among the people. Greet as many as you can. Be accessible. Be available. Be visible. Be part of the world of your people.
C. Reach out to members and nonmembers alike. Little can be accomplished sitting behind your desk waiting for a miracle to happen. You have to be on the move: visiting, telephoning, calling on people at work.
“Seest thou a man that is diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29
D. Those who visit the parish or who call for information need a follow-up by a phone call or a letter. Put these follow-ups in your daily calendar.
E. Outreach and Evangelism can be encouraged by having lectures, educational classes and by hosting guest speakers.
F. New members can write out the story of their journey, review it, and have them tell their story before the congregation during a service.
G. Outreach involves various ministries. Create an Outreach Ministry and involve as many people as possible in the work.
H. Involve members of the parish as Elders, Readers, Ushers, Greeters, Teachers and so forth.
I. Outreach must be geared toward youth and college students as well as toward adults. Interact with children on Sunday mornings or during Vacation Bible School or Retreats. “Suffer the little one to come unto me.” The priest must be accessible to the little ones in the parish.
J. Outreach is a ministry in itself. It cannot depend on you alone. Delegate tasks to lay people who are sensitive and devout Orthodox Christians and who are willing to reach out to the community.
K. In reaching out be careful never to put the non-orthodox down. They are walking in the light they have. Always build upon the common denominator. You must be the bridge between where they are and the Orthodox Faith. Feed and encourage the person before you, and in time you can show them the way.
May God grant you many years of fruitful ministry.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR PRIESTS & PASTORS by Fr. Constantine Nasr may be ordered from St. Ignatius Book Store 405-755-7804 or firstname.lastname@example.org The price is $15 plus $1.50 s/h.