It’s a Group Effort

By Eric Reed

Six ways to transform your church into an evangelism-focused congregation – 2 Timothy 4:5

How can regular Christians be turned on to evangelism? Based on a survey done of pastors by LEADERSHIP journal, here are six mindsets and actions embodied in churches that are evangelism-focused.

1. Salvation of lost people is the church’s top ministry priority. Evangelism “specifically, sharing the gospel for the purpose of conversion” must be a clearly stated objective. The allocation of time, energy, and resources must match the goal.

2. The pastor leads. Many pastors don’t feel that they’re good evangelists, and examples such as Bill Hybels and Mark Jobe may only add to that perception. But the issue is not how many people the pastor leads to Christ each week; rather, it is a matter of how up front the pastor is with his or her efforts. The pastor regularly calls believers, likewise, to share their faith in the marketplace. And the pastor encourages program leaders to assess whether their ministries are outwardly focused, and how they can be made more evangelistic. A church is only as evangelistic as its pastor.

3. Evangelists are identified and unleashed. In every congregation there is a small percentage that feels especially burdened for those without faith. These are the people who express the urgency of reaching lost people, ignite the congregation, and demonstrate that regular people can share their faith. They lessen the fear factor for others who are just getting started. They become the E-team, the organizers of the program. And they show the congregation that evangelism is not just the pastor’s job.

4. Every believer is coached in sharing his or her faith. After years of mailings from denominational headquarters and curriculum suppliers, pastors may feel they’re drowning in an alphabet soup of witnessing programs. And while pastors may have an aversion to “yet another program,” the fact is that most believers won’t articulate their faith unless they’re taught. Witnesses need a witnessing plan, whether it’s homegrown or prepackaged, a personal testimony or a carefully crafted apologetic. Not everyone will memorize and recite a lengthy presentation, but some of what they learn will stick, and that much they’ll tell others, if they’re taught.

5. The church gets frequent reminders of the importance of sharing their faith. Baptism services, particularly where the role of others in attendance in leading the person to Christ is told, keep a congregation excited. They see that God uses ordinary people to bring others to faith. At the least, they will be more likely to bring friends to church where they can hear the gospel.

6. Evangelism and prayer go hand-in-hand. Every pastor we interviewed led his church to pray, regularly, and by name, for the salvation of his congregation’s relatives and friends. Without fail, those congregations recognized that God responded to their prayers.

1. Which of the six tips do we currently do well? How will we continue to perform well in that area?
2. Which of the six tips do we not do well? What can we do to improve?
3. Do we have an “E-team” at our church, and how can we support those men and women?

This article “It’s a Group Effort” by Eric Reed was excerpted from: Building Church Leaders – 2008 Christianity Today Intl. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

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.”