Street Evangelism Dialog
By Tim Downs
Practice the following dialog until you feel comfortable with it. I find it helpful to hand them a pack of fruit snacks and talk a bit why I am out talking (We’re just out talking to people about God and inviting them to church).
Hey how are you? Are you busy? I have a question for you. This is a really important question, are you ready? (make sure you smile really big).
Do you want to go to heaven or to hell? ——They always say Heaven
Wow that’s awesome and did you know everyone I ask all over says the very same thing as you, that they want to go to heaven! Everyone wants to go to heaven, no one wants to go to hell!
The crazy thing about that is that everyone wants to go to heaven but very few ever do what it takes to get there! Everyone wants to go to heaven no one wants to go to hell.
Now, do you really want to go to heaven?
The Bible tells us unless a man is born again of the water and of the spirit they CANNOT go to heaven, say that for me CANNOT (get them to say that word)
Right, cannot means even if you want to go to heaven its impossible, its not even conceivable, its literally impossible to ever go to heaven unless you’re born again of the water and the spirit! Now, do you really want to go to heaven?
Did you know it takes 5 minutes to repent of your sins, it takes 10 minutes to get baptized the right way and God will fill you with the Holy Ghost.
It takes 15 minutes to start your new life with God, what would stop you from doing those two things right now, to repent and be baptized the right way. ( just look into their eyes do not say anything until they answer or speak) (Most people will say nothing will stop me)
If nothing will stop you, we have a church right down the road, we can take you right now and pray and repent of your sins, and we can baptize you the right way, what would stop you from doing that right now? (again wait until they answer)
If they say they have been baptized before always ask with great enthusiasm “Was it in the Name of the father son and Holy Ghost” (never ask if it was in Jesus name) if they were baptized in Jesus name they will tell you, they will know it was in Jesus name…if not then you say, I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is not one place in the whole Bible was anyone baptized the way you just said you were, in the name of the Father Son and Holy Ghost. The good news is it only takes 5 minutes to repent and 10 minutes to be baptized the right way in Jesus name. Now if you want to go to heaven what would stop you from doing those two things right now?
Some times people will say well I have to go do such and such…you then say, did you know the Bible says there is no promise of tomorrow for no man! Today is the day of salvation, we do not know if we even will be here tomorrow, life is but a vapor! Come on, do you really want to go to heaven? What would stop you right now from doing what it takes to get ready for that?
It is always good to have something to hand them when you approach them if possible. We have church cards, flyers, fruit snacks etc… it opens the door to talk to them, once they know it’s a church you just watch how they respond, if they look sad go ahead, try it!
This article “Street Evangelism Dialog” by Tim Downs is excerpted from www.gowinsouls.com.
The Art And Science Of Creating A Welcoming Congregation
By Gary McIntosh
Welcoming guests does not happen by accident or even naturally. Churches that sit back and expect new people to find their way into the church’s networks of friendships and participants are going to be disappointed.
In most churches the social and service networks are closed to the natural addition of new people—so new people simply cannot find their way in.
Of course, there are some people who work their way into the life and ministry of a church. For example, if you do not invite highly gregarious people out for dinner, they invite you. If you do not shake their hand, they shake yours. Unfortunately, very few newcomers are highly gregarious. The average guest simply does not have the desire or personality to fight his or her way into the social networks of the church.
Growing churches do not expect guests to find their way alone through the maze of relationships and expectations of their church.
In today’s world only 30 percent of our guests will come from a sister church or one of a similar background. That means that 70 percent come with little or no understanding of our church. When nearly three-fourths of our guests arrive either with no church background or from a church that is quite different, there is a corresponding lack of knowledge about our church.
Many guests will not be familiar with our worship format. They will not know when to stand, sit, or kneel. Others will not know our songs, language, and religious jargon. They will not know how to fit in or get involved in ministry. Therefore, we must be intentional in developing effective ways to move guests beyond the first visit if our churches are to thrive.
It may help you first to analyze how your visitors arrive in your church:
Front-Door And Side-Door Churches
Churches have doors through which people enter and exit. Some churches are front-door churches, others are side-door churches, and a very few are multiple-door churches. All churches have back doors — ways people leave a church.
About 90 percent of churches in the United States are front-door churches. This means that most of the new people who connect with the church will make first contact through the worship service, rather than through small groups or other ministries. Churches that focus primarily on front-door ministry must put major emphasis on being effective hosts.
Being a healthy, growing front-door church requires:
1. effective ways to invite people to church
2. a worship service that is well presented
3. a pastor who is an above-average preacher
4. workable systems for welcoming newcomers
5. clear pathways for becoming involved in membership and/or ministry
Only about 10 percent of churches in the United States are side-door churches. In a side-door church, most of the new people who connect with the church make first contact through a ministry other than the worship service, for example, through small groups, adult classes, and other types of ministries. Being a healthy side-door church requires:
1. a high value on evangelism and meeting people’s needs
2. effective ways to invite newcomers to the various groups and classes offered by the church
3. a well-designed and functional small-group ministry
4. a pastor who has an above-average ability to delegate responsibilities
5. laypeople committed to caring for those outside the church
A few churches combine both front-door and side-door ministries effectively. Often such churches explode in growth (numerical and spiritual) due to the numerous ways people are invited, welcomed, and involved in church ministry.
Rates Of Retention
Welcoming people is a never-ending process. Research completed in the late 1980s found that a church must keep about 16 percent of its first-time guests to experience a minimal growth rate of 5 percent a year. Rapidly growing churches keep between 25 and 30 percent of their first-time guests. Declining churches keep only about 5 to 8 percent of their first-time guests. By using the average of 16 percent, we can calculate the number of guests our church needs to grow. As an example, a church that wants to add 50 new members this year will need to have a minimum of 300 guests attend its worship services during the year.
The same research revealed the crucial importance of getting guests to return for a second visit. A church keeps about 85 percent of its guests who come back for a second visit the week after their first visit. This points out the importance of being gracious hosts the first time, so that our guests will feel encouraged to return.
The Importance Of Relationships
When people make friends, become involved in a group, and find a place to serve, they will remain in a church. People stay in churches primarily because of relationships. Research has demonstrated that newcomers who remain in a church more than six months have an average of seven friends in their church, while people who drop out of a church average only two friends.
As new people come into a church, new small groups must be formed. Friendships develop when people gather together in groups, particularly when the group is working toward a common purpose. Groups normally close quickly to the addition of new people, making it crucial that churches keep starting new groups.
Not only do great hosts help their guests feel welcome, but they introduce new people to new friends and help them find a place of involvement in group settings.
A Science And An Art
Welcoming people is a science and an art. While there are principles and practices that can be followed to help churches be better hosts, welcoming guests so that they stay is more than applying scientific methods.
The healthiest churches are intentional about welcoming people, but becoming members of a church is not the same as fitting in or belonging. At the root of being a great host is the faith that God will welcome the newcomer into our midst as we put into practice well-designed strategies and plans.
This article “The Art And Science Of Creating A Welcoming Congregation” by Gary McIntosh is excerpted from Church Central Newsletter, Aug. 2008.