Five Keys To Effective Outreach
1. Get your church involved.
This may seem elementary, but let’s look at this principle a little closer. There is a major difference between inspiration and education. Inspiration is what we do when we preach about the need for soul winning and the congregation feels convicted that they need to do more. They have been “inspired” to become active in outreach. But without education, this inspiration will quickly fade away. In fact, if we fail to give the body of Christ the proper training and tools, this inspiration will eventually turn into frustration. A person needs to be inspired and equipped. To equip without the inspiration is useless as well. After you have “inspired” your church, quickly hand them some valuable tools to get them active in outreach.
* Give everyone 10 seed cards (a business card of your church that has a map and list of service times). Ask them to hand out all ten this week to people they meet.\
* Teach them how to invite people to church. Give them this script:
Saint: Hey, Jim (a waiter, a friend, or anyone really), I am just curious. Do you currently attend a church on a regular basis?
Saint: Okay, Jim, let me ask you a question: what would keep you from attending church with me this Sunday morning at 10 a.m.?
If Jim can’t come to church because he has to work, simply offer another service time. If Jim cannot attend because he does not have a ride, simply offer to give him a ride. Most objections can be overcome. And if Jim answers that he does attend a church on a regular basis, maybe he is a leader in a church, simply ask him as many questions as possible about his church. And then close the conversation something like this: “Well, Jim, if you ever feel led to visit somewhere else, here is a card with the service times and a map. Feel free to join me anytime.”
* Another way to get your folks involved is by asking them to bake their neighbor a cake or some cookies. You could extend this to involve law enforcement, fire fighters or school teachers. Each week could be a different focus. These are just a few easy ways to put tools into the hand of those who are already inspired to get involved in outreach.
2. Promote “lifestyle evangelism” weekly.
Bro. E. L Holley used to say, “If you want a fence painted white, keep on painting it white: Not a very deep thought, but the revelation of it is key. If you want a church to become involved in outreach, keep on promoting outreach. You could start by having your outreach director stand before the congregation weekly to encourage the saints to be involved. Your director could hand out 10 new cards every week. He could give the script out every week or even do a short role play in front of everyone. She could give updates from the success of the week prior: “Sis Suzy baked her neighbors a cake and it sparked a conversation where she was able to invite them to church:
If you make entering into outreach “easy,” more people will become involved. Not every success has to include a healing or a new-birth experience. What we celebrate will get duplicated. So celebrate church invitations—this is effective outreach. It is also creating a culture of lifestyle evangelism.
3. Challenge your current schedule.
We “do” church the same way we have always done it. What I mean is we have services Sunday at 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM and Wed at 7:00 PM (or some variation of this). And we can always find the good in keeping this schedule. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins focuses on the ones who broke the mold and traded the good things for the great things. So in this key to effective outreach, consider how effective your current schedule is and ask yourself, “Is it good, or could it be great?
At the church that I pastor, when we were going through some dry spells with no visitors, I would come to church prepared to do one of two things: either have church as usual or shut it down and have everyone hit the streets to do street evangelism (hand out invitations). We have done this numerous times and the church has never forgotten it. This sends a very strong message to your church that you are serious about outreach.
We changed our Sunday evening Service locations. Our Sunday morning looks like this: leaders’ meeting at 8:30 AM, ministers training at 8:50 AM, prayer at 9:30 AM, Sunday school at 10:00 AM, and worship service at 11:00 AM. We generally leave our morning service around 1:30 PM and then turn right around and assemble again for worship and preaching at 6:00 PM. Although the Sunday evening service is good, I began to ask the question of how it could become great. We have decided to begin offsite preaching points in various locations around the city on Sunday evening. We still have a team at the Hope Tabernacle location, but we are branching out into other areas outside the church. We are not looking to have less church but simply to have the most effective church possible.
Neither of these examples may work for your assembly, but what else could work? Maybe home fellowship groups once per month instead of mid-week service, or maybe you have Friends and Family Night on the first Wednesday night of the month and do a potluck fellowship instead of traditional service. Or maybe your “doing’ church is just so fantastic that everything else would not be better. In that case, carry on. It is still okay to challenge your schedule to see what may develop.
4. Launch a Bible Study department.
A church will have many departments, but what about a home Bible study department? Home Bible studies have proven to be the most effective form of evangelism, yet few churches have an actual Bible Study Director and a department of teachers. This would be a great way to spark evangelism within your local assembly.
First, identify the one person in your church who is already excited and active in teaching home Bible studies. This could be a great candidate for a team leader. Then have him or her provide some training for those who would like to be involved. The resources are endless on this, and you can contact me if you need assistance on setting up a department. The purpose of having a designated director is that his or her total focus is on teaching home Bible studies and the director does not get bogged with other issues within the church. This is not the same person as the outreach director. The home Bible study director is not about knocking doors or handing out flyers; their responsibility is solely that of teaching Bible studies and training others to do the same. The pastor may very well be the first director in this department, but you should train your replacement as soon as possible in order for this to truly become effective long term.
5. Be Consistent.
Really, this key is self-explanatory. In whatever you choose to do for your church, you must be consistent. To be truly effective in outreach, you must never stop doing it, promoting it, preaching about it and living it. Evangelism is the lifeblood of any church. Nothing brings revival like new converts on the pews. So whatever method you decide is best for you, become totally committed to it.
The above article, “Five Keys To Effective Outreach” was written by David Whitaker. The article was excerpted from Apostolic Sentinel 2017.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”