It is one thing to know how to share your faith and it is another thing to lead an entire church evangelism program. Let me recommend several ideas for church evangelism as we enter a new Fall of church ministry:
Never Badger Your People
Pastor, as a husband to a wife, you should never badger your church family to lead them into evangelism. You need to encourage them and build them up. Focus on the good that they are already doing, and lead them forward.
Set the Example
Be the evangelist that you want others to be. Or in the words of Paul, “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5). Don’t expect them to do what you yourself are not doing already.
Provide Many Levels of Opportunities
Not everyone is ready or able to be involved in door-knocking or in other ways of meeting new people. So you will need to have a wide variety of opportunities available for your church family to be involved in evangelism.
Some Examples of Opportunities at Different Levels
Here are some examples of types of involvement that people can have in outreach on the local church level:
- Baking pies or cookies to be delivered to first time guests
- Forming a prayer group to pray specifically during outreach events for those being reached
- Visiting those who have just visited the church for the first time
- Visiting those who are M.I.A. (Missing In Action)—those who have missed church meetings from 3-5 weeks
- Visiting those in the community through door-to-door.
These are just a few examples to prime the pump.
Always Be Open to New Opportunities
As your church members begin to be involved in outreach, other ideas and opportunities will develop that are church-specific and community-specific. Make sure that your leadership style is open to new ideas, so that people will feel valued and encouraged in their gifts and abilities.
Make Use of Week-by-Week Schedules
I have found that church families can become burned out on some evangelism programs that are rigid and leave them feeling guilty if they do not participate weekly. For this reason it is important as a shepherd to the flock to give them seasons of feeding and rest.
Here are some ideas for monthly scheduling of evangelism events that I learned from doing evangelism with inner-city churches:
- First Saturday of the month: visit a nursing home
- Second Saturday of the month: visit a local prison
- Third Saturday of the month: door-to-door visitation
- Fourth Saturday of the month: visit a homeless shelter
- Fifth Saturday of the month: enjoy a breakfast together, fellowship and a prayer time 🙂
Consider a Month-by-Month Outreach Schedule
Some inner-city churches have very effective evangelism programs that do not burn out their members, and also take into account the patterns of life in the annual calendar:
- June-July-Aug: Designated as evangelism months
- Sept-Oct-Nov: Designated for new member assimilation
- Nov-Dec: Christmas and holiday activities
- Jan: Designated for the annual Bible Conference
- Feb-Mar: Evangelism training with planned outreach
- Apr-May: Revival preparation and implementation
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
As important as is being personally intentional in evangelism, it is also important to be intentional in administering evangelism. Make a workable plan. Do not burn out your people. Rearrange the plan if it does not work. But remember if you plan nothing, then you will reach that plan. So using these and other ideas, consider planning for evangelism.
Acts 18:9-10, “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.’”
God has many people in your city that need to hear about Jesus. So let’s pray for one another that we will be intentional and gentle as we plan our evangelism schedules for the Bride of Christ.
For more information on this topic see: “Toward a Local Church Evangelism Strategy” at: http://www.evangelismunlimited.com/documents/evangelizology/evangelizology-2014-chapter-29.pdf