For too long church leaders have focused on increasing the size of their church rather than increasing their reach outside of the four walls of the church building. The result? Church life becomes a predictable set of routines with predictable results. Church members struggle to reach the neighborhoods they drive through on their way to church programs, unable to penetrate their surrounding communities in a meaningful way. Reaching the Unreached recounts the stories, struggles, and triumphs of individuals and churches that have reinvented themselves to meet the world where it is, working to reach the ones that no one else is reaching.
The search for the “silver bullet” of success has diverted us from tapping into the timeless principles found in the book of Acts, says author, pastor, and front-line church planter Peyton Jones. Yet the spiritual climate that Paul and the Apostles stepped into is not all that different from the brave new world the church faces today.
From accidentally planting a church in a Starbucks in Europe, to baptizing members of the Mexican mafia in Long Beach Harbor, Jones has been on the frontlines of today’s missional movement and has lived to tell the tale. In Reaching the Unreached, he teaches church planters, pastors, and church leaders how to convert pew jockeys into missionaries and awake the sleeping giant of Christ’s church, one person at a time.
Today there are two types of churches: those who put their proverbial heads in the sand, and those who champion 1st century principles, meet the challenges head on, and embrace the adventure of mission in community. Tomorrow, only one type of church will survive—those that accept the challenge to reach the unreached.
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About the Author
Peyton Jones has been on the front lines of ministry for over ten years. In 1999, at the age of 25, he moved to Europe, and served as the evangelist at Lloyd-Jones’s legendary Sandfields church, Aberavon. An accidental church planter, Jones planted in a Starbucks before returning to America, and planting in inner city Long Beach. To reach those nobody is reaching, Jones has worked as a firefighter, factory worker, barista, and psychiatric nurse, bringing all these experiences to the table. Jones received his MA Theology: Pastoral Studies from Wales Evangelical School of Theology, and is the Regional Catalyst for NAMB. He is also the host of the Jump School Core Team Training Series, Managing Editor of Church Planter Magazine and the co-host of the weekly Church Planter Podcast.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: THE BRAVE NEW WORLD
Does a lesbian get a separate gospel from everybody else? What would you say to the lesbian in the inner city who interrupts an open-air service to ask what the grace and mercy just preached means for her? Welcome to the brave new world we minister in. This was just the launch day for Refuge Long Beach. Many churches will never face this type of front-line encounter because they rarely engage the people outside their building. When they do make the attempt, it often resembles playing an 8-track tape to an i Tunes world. We won’t reach the world if we approach people as we want them to be. We need to reach the people as they are. Whenever the church has regained it’s forward momentum, it has been preceded by a crisis of purpose. The first three chapters of Re:Mission will focus on “reaching the ones that nobody is reaching”. Chapter one will present the main issues, ask the hard questions, and lay out a sense of purpose that all churches can identify with.
Chapter 2: I LOOK AT ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE
How can I reach people if I hate them? Few are honest about how they really feel about others until they’re on the road. Then the truth comes out! In order to reach the world, we first need to see it the way Jesus does. The world will only change if we change first. This chapter will urge the believers and churches to focus on individuals rather than crowds. Jesus actively went after the marginalized of society, and through his followers, the gospel quickly penetrated every strata of society in the first century. Jesus turned and looked at his followers issuing the challenge that there were few willing to go into the harvest field? He asked them to pray that they might gain his burden for the lost. How does a believer stoke the coals of passion for the lost so that it ignites into evangelistic fire?
Chapter 3: REACH THE ONES NO ONE IS REACHING
What if you overheard the statement “I attend a church that Jesus would actually go to”? What would that look like? People rarely need an explanation. They know what kind of people that Jesus attracted, and can therefore envision what his church would look like. What does a church do when the cross-dressing prostitute uses the women’s bathroom? How you handle these situations will largely determine what kind of people you will reach. Jones tackles the practical barriers that churches face to reaching those who appear to need the gospel most, but have the least opportunity to hear it. Jones has seen multiple sex workers leave the trade, witnessed people set free from 25-year crack addictions. He’s baptized wanted criminals before they’ve turned themselves in to pay for their crimes, or been fatally shot. Refuge Long Beach is known locally as the last stop before Hell. Perhaps when churches measure success by the types of people reached, instead of just by the numbers reached, it will be closer to what Jesus intended; a church he’d go to.
Chapter 4: GO WHERE NO ONE IS GOING
The gospel tends to follow middle class tracks. Churches frequently follow where the money goes, instead of where the need is. When Paul was sent out on mission with the blessing of The Twelve, he was told to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10). Churches have been targeting upwardly mobile, middle class families because according to the old church growth models, that’s what brings success. Meanwhile, God is bringing the nations to our doorstep. Churches need an urban mindset for mission. Every city has a local “Samaria” where people would rather go around. The question is, are you willing to go there? When you do, it won’t just be the un-churched who are changed.
Chapter 5: YOU CALL THAT MISSIONAL?
The Missional movement hasn’t gone missional enough. In Acts 5:42 we read that the church met from house to house and in the temple courts. We’ve learned how to meet in houses, but we haven’t learned the necessity of doing ministry in public spaces. When church goes public, it will becom