Organic Outreach For Families: A Book Review

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Book Reviews
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Organic Outreach For Families
By Kevin & Sherry Harney
Zondervan
A Review By Matthew Boutilier

The concept of organic outreach is based on the conviction that we can share the love, grace, and message of Jesus in ways that feel natural for us, regardless of our personality type, life experience, or skill set, and we can learn to connect with the people around us right where they are.”

If you are like me, you live with a certain level of guilt due to the fact that you aren’t being the Gospel influence in your community the way that you know that should be. Ever wonder how to really make a lasting impact on your neighborhood, your family, where you work, or where you go to school? Feel discouraged that you aren’t really making the impact that you know you should be? Kinda shrink down in your seat as people in your small group are sharing about someone they led to the Lord at work as a result of their witness and influence? This book is for you!

Granted as zealous followers of Jesus Christ who have been so dramatically impacted by the life-changing, heart-transforming, soul-saving Gospel we should have a passion to spread that to those he comes in contact with, right? Then, why don’t we do it? Or, at least, do it more often? We can come up with a whole lot of excuses (I know I just did in writing that last sentence), but God really isn’t interested in our excuses. He is interested in our obedience. And, I appreciate this element of the book that the Harney’s bring out is that they aren’t interested in the reader’s following a program to the letter and implementing it and, viola, instant evangelical success! No, their desire is instead to share how families can just merely be available to share the Gospel.

By being available, I mean that in our hectic, chaotic, “Me-focused” routines, we normally don’t make time to be available. And, what is even more tragic is that we are unintentionally teaching that to our children as a lasting legacy to the next generation. So, the Harney’s took Jesus’ commandment to heart regarding being witnesses to their world. What is so amazing about what they share is their intentionality in slowing down and making themselves available to their neighbors.

The Harney’s share that as believers we should be a lighthouse and an emergency room to our communities. This idea of being a lighthouse and an emergency room is worthy of pause. A safe haven for others. People desperately need to see that having a relationship with Christ actually makes a difference in our lives. It’s not like belonging to a country club or the Mason’s. It’s not something that you “do.” Being available and providing a place for others who are hurting will really make an impact on people. One of the examples that really struck me was this one. Another individual made it a point to reach out to their neighbors by merely just sitting in their front yard. Emphasis on “front.” Normally, we spend our time in the back yard. Yet, this couple focused on their front yard because that is where people in their neighborhood would walk by and they were more available to strike up conversations with them.

Another noteworthy component of the book is their inclusion of testimonials. Their three sons shared real life testimonials of how living in their parents home where this point of view was faithfully lived out influenced and impacted them. It isn’t included for some selfish motivations or to seek applause, but I believe it is included to give the reader an opportunity to see just how fruitful this can be not only to those whom we are witnessing to, but also to our families whom we are training to be the next generation of Gospel-proclaimers. It’s a partnership with our children. Our kids must see us love our neighbors.

What I really took away from this book was the conclusion that it is doable. I didn’t walk away from it with a sick sense of guilt that the author was attempting to sway me that I wasn’t doing my duty; shame on me. No, I received the impression that the authors really had a passion for reaching their neighbors with the Gospel and that they wanted others to join them in impacting their neighbors.

Here is a short 2:30 video of Kevin Harney giving a synopsis of the book and how he hopes it will impact and influence others as they desire to be a lighthouse and island of refuge for their neighbors and community.

Kevin Harney description video

I would like to extend my gratitude to Cross-Focused Media for the free copy of the book for me to offer this unbiased, balanced review as well as Zondervan Publishing.

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Comments
  1. […] “Ever wonder how to really make a lasting impact on your neighborhood, your family, where you work, or where you go to school? Feel discouraged that you aren’t really making the impact that you know you should be? Kinda shrink down in your seat as people in your small group are sharing about someone they led to the Lord at work as a result of their witness and influence? This book is for you!” -Matt Boutilier (spirituallywired.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Matt,

    Thanks for being a part of the Organic Outreach for Families book review blog tour. I am hoping that many families will be encouraged by this book to reach their extended family and community for Christ.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Cross Focused Reviews

  3. Thanks for posting this review. I’m glad it wasn’t guilt inspiring. I’ve read other books like that and know what you mean.

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