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Ben, this might be the best thing you have ever said. :)

I could not agree more.

whew... i was sweating that one gary =)

Been reading for a few weeks but haven't posted here.

Sounds like Andy Stanley in 7 Practices of Effective Ministry -- Narrow the Focus.

I've been debating what this looks like in Middle School ministry.

Hey Ben I'm confused, a few blogs ago you were shouting out to your mate from Epic church for doing something unusual to connect with the unchurched and now you're saying such things are at best low value. Now I know I'm an Aussie who's far removed from you, your church and everything American so hear me I'm not being critical just trying to dig deeper... my immediate thought is there's another wise saying from Andy Stanley and the crews book 7 Practices (just before the Chapter on narrow the focus) that goes "think steps not programs." Could you (if you have time) elaborate on this post as I really want to understand your thoughts on the steps involved in reaching the unchurched in Reston. Ben I truely appreciate you and your blog I've learnt heaps from you.

Question - Are you saying that in Reston the unchurched are so open to the concept of God that with adequate communication they actually just turn up to the Sunday meeting, make decisions for Jesus from there slot into small groups and grow into mature Christian leaders who inturn disciple other groups? My Australian experience is far from the way it works here and we need to really strategic in identifying and establishing steps in the goal of connecting the lost with the church and ultimately Jesus.

By the way I'm really interested in this issue because I respect Gary and you both. Think of it as a way of investing in a small group or leadership community. =)

Hey Will, I encourage lots of church planters that I could not emulate. These guys are my friends, and I'd root them on no matter what.

I'm convinced that the best outreach happens on a personal level. Invest and invite. Andy Stanley's 3 environments doesn't reflect this step either. It's a given.

There are so many philosophies of ministry out there, that you really have to avoid trying to swallow other people's ideologies as a whole. I take pieces here and there to fit our context.

Hey Will,
I'd like to speak to your question and comment regarding Epic and our event (art show). I very much agree with Ben regarding carnivals, fairs, and the like. They seem to attract church people or those that are looking to consume. I am thinking that the art show may have been misunderstood looking at it from the outside. We chose to do an art show for two reasons: 1) to serve the community (there is a huge need for this in our area) and 2) to start a conversation with our community. It was our desire that people would ask why we were doing this event. Honestly, we had no idea how many people would be involved. We had incredible talks with people and indeed plan to continue these conversations and build relationships.

Thanks Ben and Shaula. It was great to get both your feedback. To be honest I appreciate what working Pastors have to say on issues of the gospel and I agree we all have to listen, think, pray and work things out for our context and culture. It's just hard to dig that bit deeper inside a Pastors brain without asking questions. I want to encourage you both, keep sharing the gospel... events and dare I say it churches come and go but people are eternal =)

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