Local Church Standards in Evangelism
1. Every local church should have a functioning group in evangelism and at least annually provide training designed to equip laity for evangelistic ministries. This group should set realistic growth goals and effort goals at the beginning of the year and create programs to meet these goals. The group should also plan special evangelistic services during the year.
2. Every local church should create and design programs putting the needs of the unchurched in the community above the needs of the present membership.
3. Every local church should create or improve the process for locating prospective members and keep an up-to-date prospect list (visitor cards, pew pads, etc)
4. Every local church should have at least one team of lay persons involved in a regular, ongoing visitation program to prospects and inactive members.
5. Every local church should have some type of brochure describing the church, its ministries and times of services and a letter of invitation to leave in the hands of prospective members and newcomers.
6. Every local church should have at least annually a membership or pastor’s class for adults and one for youth and/or children.
7. Every local church should have a plan to assimilate new members into the fellowship and organizations of the congregation.
8. Every local church should organize its church school for growth, electing Evangelism coordinators in each class, youth group, choir and other on going groups to reach out and try to include unchurched persons in these groups.
9. Every local church should seek out and attempt to reclaim inactive members and establish a plan to contact all members at least twice a year.
10. Every local church should provide for the continuing education of its pastors in Evangelistic ministries. (from the Holston Annual Conference) Revised 8-15-2005 Hinton Rural Life Center www.hintoncenter.org
A Ministry for reaching Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances and Neighbors without a church home
The results of many surveys show that around 86% of unchurched people who come into church membership choose their new church home because someone invited them. The Church Growth Institute of California calls this “webbing,” others call it “networking,” we call it “FRANgelism.”
How to use the FRANgelism form on the flip side of this paper:
1. On a Sunday morning when the entire worship service is built around the theme of personal faithsharing, have the ushers give every worshipper (including the choir and clergy) a copy of the FRAN sheet at designated point in the service.
2. Be certain that sharpened pencils or pens are in the pews!
3. Ask people to write their own name in the center circle. Then write in one friend, one relative, one acquaintance, and one neighbor whom they believe to be without a church home. (If they cannot fill in all four, fill in every blank possible.)
a) Friends – significant personal relationships b) Relatives – don’t forget nieces, nephews and relatives by marriage c) Acquaintances – co-workers, gas station attendants, grocery cashiers, classmates d) Neighbors
4. Ask people to bring these forms to the altar and leave them there with a brief silent intercessory prayer for each name they have written.
5. Collect the forms from the altar after the service and entrust someone to put them on church office computer or in a card file.
6. Mail the original back to the person whose name is in the circle with a letter asking them to make the following covenant:
a) place the form in a visible place (on refrigerator door, in Bible if read daily) b) pray for each person or family daily c) call them and invite them either to home or out to eat d) invite them to come with you in your car to church on a specific Sunday
FRAN – A Ministry for Reaching Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances and Neighbors without a Church Home
______________ Your Name
Name:__________________ Address:__________________ Phone:_______________
Name: _______________ Address: _________________ Phone: ______________
Name: ______________ Address:_______________ Phone: _____________
Name: _______________ Address: _________________ Phone: ______________
Covenant: I will pray for these persons daily.
I will invite them to church and offer to bring them.
For Church Use Only Date received: ________________ Date transmitted: _____________ Date returned: _______________
Reaching Inactive Church Members
Assumptions that are far healthier and will contribute to the receiving back of inactive folk are as follows:
1 Every person who joined this church did so with complete sincerity and in good faith.
2 Every person who is currently inactive has a good reason for being inactive.
3 Every inactive person will continue to be inactive until the reason has been identified and eliminated. Therefore, any attempt to make them feel guilty will be counterproductive.
4 Any attempt at speculation will be far less productive than seeking to discover the reason more directly, i.e. straight from the horse’s mouth.
5 Being normal human beings, when first approached, inactive folk will offer excuses instead of reasons. Be sure you know the difference between an excuse and a reason. “I work six days and only have Sundays to clean the house, do the wash and shop.” “Being a blue collar worker, I don’t really feel at home with people who have more time on their hands than they can fill.”
6 We can always learn more from listening than by talking. God gave us two ears and only one tongue for a reason.
7 True listening takes time!!!!!! You’ll never do it in a twenty-minute call!
8 Actually several visits will be required.
9 The longer we wait after a member becomes inactive, the less chance there is of recovery.
10 All the existing face-to-face groups in our congregation are completely ineffective in caring for the inactive person/s.
11 The person who has become inactive often will have greater difficulty in coping with feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anger, hostility, anxiety, or neglect than do the more active members of the congregation. That is why they are inactive. They acted out what they could not communicate in any other way. “My argument is with you, not God.”
12 We assume that the vast majority of inactive persons send a signal to the church when they experience an anxiety-producing conflict or sense of helplessness. If this signal is ignored, the member may enter into a period of inactivity to further test “whether anyone down there really cares about me.” This is the probationary period before the person really becomes inactive. It is important that there be some attempt and methodology for identifying the early signals, such as non-attendance for a few Sundays, not turning up at scheduled meetings, etc.
13 We assume that the spiritual needs of some members change as the years go by. Therefore some long term members who may appear to have become inactive or who are shopping for a new church home should be identified, not as bored or apathetic or hostile or disinterested, but rather as potential graduates from our congregation. Example: from liberal to conservative; from conservative to liberal; Roman Catholic to Protestant, etc.
14 We assume that in establishing meaningful communication with inactive members we are faced with two challenges: one is to listen; the other is to be aware of the assumptions we bring to our conversation with the inactive person, some of which might be counterproductive.
15 Finally we assume that while we do not have direct control over all the many factors that may cause a member to be inactive, we do have complete and direct control over the assumptions on which we build our response to the inactive members as well as over what we do or do not do that causes members to become inactive.
(Source: Roger Swanson, General Board of Discipleship)
The above article, “Local Church Standards in Evangelism” was written by Roger Swanson. The article was excerpted from https://www.hintoncenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/hinton-center-evangelism.pdf.
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.”