My handwritten “YBH” conveys my tone. Usually it’s written lightly. In some books it gets darker, picks up some underlines and may even get an exclamation point or two as I get deeper in. My “YBH?!?” yells my frustration.
YBH means “Yes, but how?”
We highlight lots of stuff in our churches. Good stuff. Important stuff. But lots of times I’m left wondering, “YBH?”
My faithful blog readers know that I’ve been wrestling with the evangelism question a lot over the past few years. You know I see Jesus calling us to share Him with others, love others and turn on lights in dark spaces. YBH has been a consistent thought.
It’s easy to say stuff that sounds great. “We want to love our neighbors” or “We want to reach our city with the gospel.” But until I start considering how to do those things and begin acting on those plans, they are just good intentions.
Think about this for a second. How can your church reach your city with the gospel? Are we really talking about the hundreds of thousands of people in a 15 mile radius? (Remember, I’m in Maine.)
Suddenly bean suppers and Christian concerts don’t seem like much more than a drop in the ocean. Every drop matters … but it’s a long way from our goal.
What if the church I serve sent out a direct mailing inviting the surrounding 360,000 people to church? If the standard marketing rate of 1-2 percent responded we’d be swamped with 3600-7000 people! We have room for around 600 in our auditorium. Do we offer 12 services to accommodate that crowd? Should we have 4 services Sunday, 3 Saturday and one each night of the week? That would be awesome … and it would only leave 353,000 left to reach. Wow.
That’s not the answer. Clearly we need an auditorium for 5,000 people. That means we could have 2 services on Sunday and have room to grow. We could grow to have a nightly service, 3 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday! That would leave only 305,000 unreached. Wow. What size staff would we need for a church of 55,000 people. If we say one for every thousand people, that’s 55 overworked pastors! Support staff? Administrators? Custodians? Musicians? That’s a total staff of 200 people at a cost of at least $10,000,000.00
Some people would love it and others would never step foot in our buildings. How do we reach those who wouldn’t come to our megachurch? It takes a network to impact a city.
Reach your city with the gospel. YBH? What would you do to accomplish that goal?
1) Identify people to send out
2) Live in the community they are reaching
3) Communicate and demonstrate the gospel
4) Invite people to follow Christ
5) Help people connect with other believers (church)
6) See them grow
7) Identify leadership
8) Give ownership by letting them lead
9) Develop leadership through mentoring
10) Send out and repeat the process
It’s called the Pauline Cycle and you can see it in the book of Acts (Planting Churches Cross-Culturally, David J. Hesselgrave). It’s the biblical example of spreading the gospel and reaching people. It doesn’t replace the ministry of the local church. Instead, it focuses the purpose of the local church and our purpose as Christians.
From what I read, Jesus never called us to be passive listeners. He called us to be hearers of the Word who then become “doers.”
YBH is becoming YAN in my life. “Yes, but how” is compelling me to again say, “Yes, and NOW.”