When it comes to transforming people's lives and leading them into active Christian discipleship, why does there seem to be such a difference between the church we read about in the New Testament and our own churches today? What was it about those earliest Christians that empowered them to spread the gospel with such startling results? One core reason, says George G. Hunter III, is that they reached out into the communities in which they lived.
Instead of building fortress churches and inviting others to come join them inside the walls, the earliest Christians spread out, engaging in hands-on ministries to meet the needs of people where they were. The churches today that have reclaimed this apostolic ministry are the ones that do not rely on worship, or even preaching, to woo the unchurched into visiting them. Rather, they use outreach ministries -- everything from recovery groups to English-as-a-second-language classes -- to reach those most in need of the healing word of the gospel.