It’s easy to be discouraged when it comes to thinking about evangelism in our churches. As leaders we are committed to the Word of God, we know the Great Commission contains our marching orders from Jesus himself, and we are convicted that “being the church” means leading people to Christ. So, what do we do? We work hard. We teach the word faithfully. We have a smorgasbord of activities to connect with the community. We put on events and preach the gospel, inviting people to come to Christ. We do all this good ministry but it’s just not translating to people coming to faith in Jesus.
All this effort with few results leads to more frustration. We hope things will change eventually. We pray for revival to take place in our churches and we persist in working hard to reach our communities. The cycle begins again.
As church leaders we must change our thinking when it comes to evangelism in our churches if we are ever going to reach this generation for Jesus! If we keep doing what we are doing, we will continue to get the same results. We must rethink how we engage our people for evangelism.
In reality, few truly non-churched people even attend our evangelistic events. We will never reach this generation for Jesus through relying on lost people coming to our events. Rather, we must activate the believers in our churches to effectively live as witnesses in their everyday encounters. They are rubbing shoulders with hundreds of non-churched people every week.
If we can activate believers as effective witnesses for Jesus Christ, just think what God might do!
Over the next five blogs I want to share with you key lessons we have learned in EvangelismSHIFT and suggest five SHIFTS that need to take place in our approach to evangelism.
The first SHIFT that must take place is this:
- We need to SHIFT from leader-owned evangelism to congregation-owned evangelism.
What do I mean by leader-owned evangelism? Well, when you hear of a church that is very active and is an ‘evangelistic church’, what this typically means is that the leadership are committed to evangelism and they put on events where the gospel is preached, and people are coming to faith in Christ. When you belong to a church like that, you praise God for those leaders and you love being part of a church whose leaders are committed to evangelism.
If I’m part of this church and an evangelistic men’s breakfast is coming up, I think, “That’s right! Men’s breakfast is this Saturday, who can I invite?” because I want to support my leaders in evangelism.
But notice the difference if I, as a church member, own evangelism. It changes my thinking. When that same men’s breakfast comes up, now I think, “Fantastic! Men’s breakfast is on this Saturday. I have two guys I have been journeying with and I need something to help them cross the line to faith! I’m not an evangelist and this event can help me in my evangelism with these guys.”
Can you see the difference? As leaders we must generate a culture where our people see themselves as sent ones from God, living as his witnesses, viewing church evangelistic events as serving them in their efforts to reach their world for Jesus. This culture shift changes everything!
It even changes who joins your church or how new believers see themselves when they come to faith in Jesus. When this is your church culture and a new person comes to your church, within a very short time I recognise that if I am to be a part of this church, I will need to live as a witness for Jesus and this church will help me do that.
We need to shift from leader-owned evangelism to congregation-owned evangelism. This is just one of the shifts churches experience through EvangelismSHIFT.
You can learn more about EvangelismSHIFT at www.evangelismshift.afci.com.au .