“Inreach” is fairly well defined in my mind as ministry that seeks to bring believers to spiritual maturity.
“Outreach” is also fixed in my thinking as ministry that extends the gospel to the surrounding community and nations.
What I’m trying to figure out, however, is “midreach.”
Thus far, I’ve come up with this: Midreach is both. It’s communicating Biblical ideas in a way that is compelling to both Christians and nonChristians (and those on the fence).
As I struggle to define and master the art of midreach (in the context of college campus ministry), I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
p.s., descriptive words would be more helpful to me than sending me links—thanks.
My first thought on this one is: why do we need “new” words for old concepts? What's wrong with evangelism, sanctification, and discipleship? The way you describe “inreach” Rick, sounds alot like what once was the job description of pastoring. “Outreach” sounds like witness and evangelism.
On the challenge that these are “religious” and “evangelical” terms — so what? aren't these religious and evangelical activities?
Shouldn't communicating the Gospel(now let's define that word for starters)always be compelling for whoever the hearer is. If, the Gospel is simply an announcement of Good News, then it is good news to all. Discipleship, spiritual formation and yes even evangelism are more about what happens or what is done as a result of hearing the Good News. So maybe announcing the Gospel is in and of itself midreach as it actually has no regard for the status of the hearer.
Midreach is a good word. I've found at HU, there's a couple people who seem to be very well acquainted intellectually with who Jesus is and the general message of the Gospel but have not made a commitment to Christ.
I've found that because these folks have this knowledge, the typical outreach stuff can feel a little bit like talking down, especially if the Christians aren't in the room to learn as well.
Stuff that fits with my mental picture of midreach would be things like short term mission trips (e.g. InterVarsity's Urban Plunge) where both Christians and non-Christians are engaged in experiencing the work that God's calling them to, as well as connecting reality to the Gospel.
Call the activities by whatever names you wish, but I believe our lives (and therefore our worship & churches as well) as believers are constantly about growing in our faith, seeing how Jesus is relevant to every part of life, making relationships with both believers and those not yet privileged to know Jesus personally, and challenging daily what we hold true.
Every act of every day should be so filled with grace and humility that believers and not-yet-believers alike see something so appealing that it draws them to seek God. I think the key to all the words is “reach.” We should always be reaching, never satisfied with where we've arrived, but always seeking new heights in all of our relationship (inward/outward and all other ways).
This sounds like what I've been doing with the Urban Hillbilly Quartet for the last 15 years. The problem with being in the middle (to quote Margaret Thatcher, I believe) is that you get hit by traffic on both sides! Perhaps “midreach” is more about you being a real person who lives out his faith…who is open to and comfortable with talking to others who live out very different lifestyles and beliefs.
Nice nuance. Terms like this are not somehow unraveling the validity of traditionally used terms – but rather helping us to garner a vocabulary that contextually works in current culture.
I like the idea of “midreach” and as a Sr. Pastor in an outwardly focused church, I constantly wrestled with the idea of trying to communicate timeless truths to people who were at different points on their spiritual journey.
I do belive that the Gospel if delivered with relevant application never fails to entice and produce life change. We are to “alway's desire the sincere milk”.