Growing A Church With Personal Evangelism
What is a church?
Drive up and down the streets of any small mid-western town and before long you will see a steepled structure, be it brick or clap-board, with a sign out front. Elm Street Christian Church, Community Church, and Christian Life Tabernacle, are among the many monikers that may adorn the door. But the church is not a structure built of wood and stone – it uses such structures. Nor is the church an incorporated organization with its legal papers on file at the state court house. Nor is the church a pre-scribed program of three services a week, a Sunday School, and a Bus Ministry. A church uses organization and programs. So what is a church?
The church is people. People whose lives have been changed. People who are standing for truth, fulfilling the Great Commission, spreading the Good News, and doing the will of their Father. What is a church? A church is people sharing Jesus!
The church has been given a grand and noble commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel . . . “ We are a people with a mission. We have a job to do. But time is running out. What we do must be done quickly. Spread theWord. Win the Lost. He’s coming soon!
Never before has the church needed to place a greater emphasis upon personal evangelism than today. But new programs are not the answer. Programs are only a means unto an end, not an end unto themselves. They will never work without you and I doing our part – and our part is to witness and share what’s within us with someone else.
We have a treasure in an earthen vessel. We dare not bury it in the ground. We have a light that needs to shine. We dare not hide it under a bushel. Don’t hand me another program. Give me a burning zeal to win the lost. The emphasis must be upon personal evangelism.
The Power Of Your Testimony
You will find today that people will quickly argue with your theology. They will strongly dispute your philosophy. They will also disagree with your interpretation of scripture. But they can’t argue with your personal testimony. They can’t argue that you talked in tongues, that your life has been changed, that you’ve been healed, that you’ve been delivered from drugs and alcohol. They can’t argue with what the Lord has done for you. Your personal testimony is the most powerful tool you have.
It has often been said, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” This is true. But what if you made him thirsty? When thirsty, he will drink with great relish. This is the power of the personal testimony. What the Lord has done for us is our “salt” and it makes others thirsty for what you have. We don’t need to declare doctrine to sinners. Indoctrination comes after salvation. We need to share Christ and him crucified. We need to train our people when to witness, where to witness, how to witness and how to give their testimony. We need to provide them with opportunities to witness and motivate them to do so on a consistent basis. How can this be done?
Saints will only do what you train them to do. If the only example they see is the pastor pounding on the pulpit, screaming fire and judgement – then that is the approach they will use. If the only example they hear is a heavy doctrinal dissertation, replete with the finer details of expository minutiae – then that will be their message too. But if you want them to be soulwinners and to effectively reach their “oikos,” they must be taught both the proper approach, and the proper message. This is soulwinning training.
Saints do not receive this skill upon receiving the Holy Ghost. They received the power and desire to witness, but not the techniques. The way that one goes about witnessing to his or her family and friends is different than the approach used in a church service where the convicting power of God is strong. How our churches would have grown if soulwinning training had only been taught to all who first came in. How many well intentioned husbands or wives have perhaps forever ruined their chances of winning their spouse because they, in their emotional zeal, tried to force-feed them the truth. How many friends could have been reached if the new convert had only known what to do or say. The fact that they did not – and perhaps still do not – can be blamed on no one but ourselves.
There are a number of excellent Apostolic authored books and courses available for teaching your people the right way and approach in witnessing to family, friends, and acquaintances. Some that you might wish to consider are:
+ Personal Evangelism 101 by John Arcovio.
+ The How’s and Why’s of Witnessing The Gospel by Michelle Mihalakis.
+ Trophies Of Heaven by Ron Knott
+ The How’s of Evangelism by S. Bozeman.
+ Evangelism: God’s Heartbeat by S. Hendricks.
+ Witness Consciousness by Gordon Mallory.
+ I Am A Soulwinner by Denver Stanford.
Most of the above can be purchased from the Pentecostal Publishing House (314) 837-7304 or by contacting the author.
It should be the goal of every growing church to have at least 60% of their people complete some kind of organized evangelism training every year. They often schedule such training at the annual planning retreat. To them, it’s important. They make it a priority. They will also place a strong emphasis upon soulwinning training in the new convert’s training class.
Some teach their annual soulwinning training as a Bible study night series. Others offer it as a special class on Bible study night. It can also be taught as a Sunday school elective, or before / after any regular service or on an off-church night.
You see, the growing church knows that true growth is not dependent upon buildings, programs, revivals, or crusades. Instead, it depends upon people winning people, a pattern as old as the book of Acts.
Constant Contact Consciousness
If people are going to witness, they must be encouraged to regularly do so. We are all creatures of habit. We have good habits, and unfortunately, sometimes bad habits. Witnessing and sharing our testimony must become more than something we do only when told or organized. It must become a good habit – something we almost do automatically without really thinking about it. When the opportunity comes, when the Lord opens the door, when the Spirit prompts, we must step through.
How many times have we walked away from somewhere and had the thought strike us, “Oh, but that would have been an excellent time to witness to her and invite her to church.” But now the chance has slipped past – perhaps never to come again. A door was opened, and now it’s closed. The chance was lost – and perhaps a soul also.
If we are going to develop a habit of witnessing, what some call “life-style evangelism,” we must consciously practice and intentionally make an effort. Constant Contact Consciousness is just the ministry to help us do that. Those involved hand in a small report slip each week (see example on left). On the slip they place their name and then note the number of times they witnessed for the Lord that week.
They may have talked to one, or a dozen, or no one. Regardless the number, the slip is handed in. It becomes a regular weekly reminder that says, “have you talked to anyone? Over the last seven days you probably saw over a hundred different people – did you take the time to talk to any of them about the Lord? Did you invite even one of to church?” This simple reminder is usually all that is needed. It hurts to put down a “zero.” Conviction grips us. “Next week, I’m going to do better,” you tell yourself. And you will.
It’s a lot like prayer – the more you pray, the more you want to pray. Witnessing is much the same. But you have to get that ball rolling and then keep it rolling. Constant Contact Consciousness (many call it the “C.C.C. Ministry” for short) gets it rolling. It is an effective, powerful, and productive ministry that anyone can be involved in. It will bring in more visitors, Bible studies, and visitation prospects than any other program. Giving his personal testimony was the main evangelism tool of the Apostle Paul. Over and over we read of Paul telling his Damascus road experience. We too must accept the Lord’s commandment to, “witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” This idea of “life-style evangelism” will only come as we become more conscious of the need to witness and of the opportunities available.
What Are The Benefits Of CCC?
The Constant Contact Consciousness ministry is an excellent outreach for many different reasons. Consider the following:
a. C.C.C. is a ministry that any size church – from the very smallest to the very largest – can utilize.
b. It is a ministry that any person, regardless of their skills or abilities, can be involved in. All are called to be witnesses.
c. It is a ministry that has no staff limitations. Unlike Sunday School – which only needs so much help – the entire church can participate in C.C.C.
d. It does not require a set night of the week. Your people can witness anywhere, anytime, to anyone.
e. It is a much needed reminder to your people each week of their personal evangelism efforts. We all need that.
f. It provides the church with an incentive to witness, for they like to keep the weekly C.C.C. number high. They should also have a weekly goal to reach for.
g. It provides the pastor with a chance to give recognition to those who are witnessing on a consistent basis. Without this type of ministry, the pastor never knows.
h. It provides the pastor a regular opportunity to encourage soulwinning and outreach in general, for each week he will be commenting on the C.C.C. totals.
i. It provides the pastor with a unique “thermometer” of the church’s spiritual condition. When people are on fire for God, the witness. As the fire dies, so does their zeal to tell others.
j. It provides the church with many visitors and home Bible studies, for witnessing is the first step to getting both of these.
k. Finally, involvement in C.C.C. builds strong, overcoming Christians.
A long-time alcoholic, who had been totally changed by his experience with Jesus Christ, was once asked, “How do you do it, Carl? How do you stay off the bottle and faithful to God?” To which he replied, “I just keep giving my testimony for Jesus. I can’t backslide while I’m giving testimony for Jesus.” “And they overcame by . . . the word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11).”
For more information on how to organize and promote the C.C.C. ministry, request file OPEM-08.TXT from the Apostolic Information Service database (www.apostolic.edu).
Saturday Door Knocking
For years, door knocking was about the only type of consistent outreach – outside of occasional street services – that you would find in most Pentecostal churches. “Outreach” and “door knocking” were pretty much synonymous terms: where you found the one, you would normally find the other.
Today, except for a handful of die-hard adherents, few churches walk the neighborhoods and ring the doorbells. We have seemingly surrendered the entire program over to the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most pastors see little profit to this “cold turkey” approach of evangelism.
However, even though traditional door knocking and canvassing has not reaped a great amount of results in the past, several new approaches have given greater productivity to this type of ministry, bringing a reevaluation in the hearts of many. Not only are churches seeing greater results, but many pastors have come to realize that there is a large percent of people in their churches that will become involved – and even enjoy – the Saturday Door Knocking ministry. Perhaps this is because such a heavy emphasis has been placed here in the past. Or maybe it’s because that’s what Mom and Dad always did. But whatever the reason, the doorbells are ringing again and the churches doing so are singing its praises as new converts are being won to Jesus Christ.
What has brought about this change? Simply this: A realization that for any outreach to be effective, it must meet people’s needs.
To go up to someone’s door and invite them to church is fine – but seldom do they ever come. The entire sequence says, “I want you to do something for me – come to my church”. Unfortunately we live in a very “me” oriented generation. The world’s view of everything today seems to say “what’s in it for me? What will I get out of it?” Little do they realize what that one visit could mean to their eternity. If we are going to see results beyond that of sore knuckles, we had better change our approach.
The change in approach has been to offer a needed service, to give them something they want: A personal Bible survey course (Home Bible Study), the benefits of “belonging” to a Sunday School and having a pastor (Enroll-to-Grow), a Bible education for their children (Bus Ministry), a social and educational program for their youth (Scouting /Youth Clubs), or an enjoyable activity for the entire family (a church sponsored drama, musical, or program). There are many others. This is a subtle but significant change from the traditional visitation goal of trying to present the full Gospel in every home. The new method discovers a person or family with a need, than develops a strategy to reach them by meeting that need.
For more information on how to organize and promote a successful Saturday Door Knocking ministry, request file OPEM-09.TXT from the Apostolic Information Service database (www.apostolic.edu)
We have all seen the result of the “each one, reach one” concept. How that if each Christian won one person each year, and the persons they won did the same, the entire world would be saved within thirty-five years. The challenge, of course, is to do it.
D. L. Moody is reported to have once said “I would rather train ten soulwinners than win ten souls.” The key to effective personal evangelism and outreach is for a pastor to reproduce his burden and ability into the hearts of his people. They must be trained, they must be led, they must be encouraged, they must be organized, they must be challenged.
The growing church has found the methods that work best for them and then work them for all they are worth. A pastor cannot allow occasional poor participation to discourage him in consistently sowing the gospel seed. Not everyone will become involved in everything all the time. But it is better to do something than to do nothing.
A visiting pastor is once to have said to his fellow pastor, after the announced visitation was poorly attended, “Isn’t it terrible that so few come out for Saturday Door Knocking? This is why I no longer do it!” To which the pastor replied, “Poor as it is, I like the way we do something better than the way you do nothing.”
Here are seven closing thoughts from a revival pastor to keep in mind as you put these outreach programs into motion:
1. Keep a revival spirit in every service.
2. Find the outreach methods that work for you and work them.
3. Involve everyone, somewhere, doing something.
4. Make personal soulwinning dwarf everything else.
5. Don’t wear out your people doing too many other things.
6. Your leaders should be an example in personal soulwinning.
7. Plan your work and work your plan.
May God bless you with an abundance of harvest and a growing body of believers!