This is week 2 with Tyler as we share his final 3 answers to our questions. If you didn’t read last week, here is more about Tyler:
Tyler Detrick is the organizing pastor of First Street Reformed Fellowship in Dayton, OH. Tyler is one of the younger and newer OPC ministers. He interned with Brad Peppo and then was ordained and installed in Dayton in November of 2020. He and his wife, Natalie, have a one-year old son. Tyler grew up 20 miles from Dayton in a broadly evangelical Lutheran Church before ending up in OPC churches. Working alongside Brad Peppo, and now on his own in Dayton, Tyler has had opportunities to minister to diverse people. Dayton has many homeless and Tyler frequently interacts with people who have mental illness or seriously damaged by drugs. Tylers shares this tidbit that creates a vivid image for us:
“The first time I ever walked into our worship space, a tall man wearing ragged clothes and holding a judge’s gavel told me he would use that gavel if I ever spoke falsely during the sermon!”
Dayton is also home to a large population of college kids, millennials, and refugees from a wide variety of nations.
Here are the final 3 questions and Tyler’s answers…
Question: What is a great idea or practice you learned from someone outside the Reformed world (something you learned in pre-Reformed days that you still do or something you’ve picked up from those outside the Reformed world) Doesn’t have to be you personally, could be church practice.
Tyler: A non-denominational pastor once taught me this great idea: Meet people outside the church by doing things that interest you in the community. This pastor met lots of unbelievers through a community tennis league. He simply signed himself up to play a sport he loves and started having natural conversations about life with others interested in the sport. Not being much of an athlete myself, I have met many non-Christians through “birding” groups which I found on local social media pages. I have joined random unbelievers on evening owl hikes advertised on Facebook and talked with a group of birders about matters of salvation as we scanned the trees with our binoculars. I am working on starting up an Irish music band which can perform in the community and open doors for outreach. The idea is simply to identify what you’re good at or interested in, find outlets for these things in your community, and to start to talk to people about their lives as you join them in doing the things you love.
Question: What is a great idea or practice you learned from someone within the Reformed world?
Tyler: One pastor within the OPC taught me to maximize my time out in the community by leaving an obvious-looking Bible or book about the Bible on my table when I go to coffee shops, restaurants, etc. and to take a quick moment in prayer to ask God to open the door to a gospel-oriented conversation. God has used this simple practice in surprising ways! Sometimes professing Christians will ask me about my Bible, and I have the opportunity to ask them about their faith in Christ (knowing that people around us are likely tuning into the conversation). Other times, Mormons or skeptics have asked me about my Bible or theology books, and I try to engage them in conversation and get to know them.
Question: What is the most “successful” outreach thing you’ve done or what has most contributed to your “success?” —not necessarily you personally, could be something you’ve implemented in church life or a collective church practice or approach.
Tyler: The most successful outreach thing I have done is to invest in equipping my congregation to move toward the people they meet with the gospel. This mostly happens through the ministry of the Word. As I preached through the Gospel of Luke, I pressed my congregation to hear the call of Jesus to actively approach the outcasts and outsiders with the good news that they are invited to attend the Great Feast if they turn away from their sins and trust in Jesus (Luke 14). I challenged my hearers to identify at least two people in their circles who they could prayerfully approach in this way. I soon began to hear exciting stories of evangelistic conversations with family, friends, and co-workers. Some new visitors started to attend our church. Then members of my congregation started to ask me to meet with them and their skeptic friends who were not quite ready to visit church.
Our congregation still has much to learn about outreach, but I have already started to see how effective evangelism begins with the proclamation of the Word and multiplies as members of the church are intentionally equipped and challenged to join in the work.