5 SHIFTS needed if our churches are going to reach this generation for Christ

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:

 

  1. 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 .

 

Thank you for praying!!!

God is at work through EvangelismSHIFT!!

Thank you so much for praying with us! No one can deny the fact that God has been seriously doing his business of activating his people to live as witnesses in their daily lives through EvangelismSHIFT! It is really thrilling to think that since EvangelismSHIFT was launched in 2015, leaders from our pilot church became Facilitators of EvangelismSHIFT in other churches, and then leaders from those churches joined the growing group of Facilitators taking time out of their crazy schedules to take yet other churches on the 2-year EvangelismSHIFT journey! EvangelismSHIFT Is beginning to multiply through denominational and geographic networks.

John recently spoke with the senior pastor of a church halfway through the EvangelismSHIFT journey. John asked him if he was interested in being a Facilitator of EvangelismSHIFT in other churches as he continues his ministry. He immediately said, “Yes, I definitely am. As I’ve experienced EvangelismSHIFT, I’m convinced that this is the only way to create an evangelistic culture in our churches.”

EvangelismSHIFT was first launched In Perth, followed by our next batch of churches in the year 2016 in Raymond Terrace, the NSW North Coast and Northern Sydney.

Our current and third batch of churches are from Melbourne, Southern Sydney, Western Sydney, and another group in the NSW North Coast. It is not yet half-way through the year, but there is already growing interest from churches in New South Wales, Adelaide and in Perth to embark on the EvangelismSHIFT journey next year, 2020!

And the growth is also international. John North recently wrote, “I see capable leaders from five nations (USA, Fiji, Philippines, Canada and Australia) stepping out in faith to join our team full-time to launch EvangelismSHIFT in their own nations; as I witness the same multiplication happening in those nations that is happening here in Australia—it is no longer crazy to me to think that God is going to use us (you, me, AFCI, our growing network of Facilitators) to, yes, change the world!”

Last month, Bill Hodgson and John North led interaction on movement building from the life of Christ with AFCI leaders from Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania. These AFCI Leaders set a goal of being ready to launch EvangelismSHIFT in 2021 in their nations.

Read More

How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—Christmas celebrations that ignore Jesus miss the whole point

I love Christmas time. In fact, for me, Christmas would have to be the highlight of my year. I love the anticipation leading up to Christmas. I love spending time with loved ones. I love catching up with people I haven’t seen or spoken to all year. I love the carols and get togethers. I love the food and festivities. I love the spirit of generosity you see among people. I love that on Christmas day shops are closed. I love the break in normal routine. I love that the world seems to pause for a short while. I love the warm Aussie summer days. I love the late night conversations and early morning surprises. I love the joy. I love the excitement. I love the fact that Christmas its all about Christ … Jesus Christ!

Read More

How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—God so loved the world that he… what about you?

If I were to pick one verse out of the Bible that expresses the message God was communicating through sending Jesus into our world at Christmas, it would be John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” That verse really challenges me about reaching out to people with the message of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

Read More

How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—When we receive a gift, we want to show and tell others about it

“WITH THE FESTIVE SEASON JUST AROUND THE CORNER, LET THE BUDGETING BEGIN!” I saw this quote somewhere, written in bold letters. True enough, this is the period of the year when people all over the world are spending a lot of time to find the perfect Christmas gifts for their loved ones. It made me recall a moment as a child when my mother gave me a CD cassette player. I immediately clasped my mum with tremendous affection and expressed how grateful I was to receive that gift. I hastily tried it out, my face beaming with delight!! Next thing, I transformed into a deliriously elated kid dancing and singing all over the house! Out of uncontainable delight, I even hurriedly brought the CD cassette player outside our house to share my amusement with my cousins and friends. I also brought it to school, parks, the school gym and every place I went to! That memory contains a fundamental truth about our nature as human beings: when we receive a gift, we love to share it with others!

Read More

How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—Time with extended family is an opportunity to share about Christ

When I have spent Christmas with family or friends who don’t know the Lord, sometimes I have been too pushy, and sometimes I have held back too much. But the reality is that any time that you are with extended family members who do not yet know the Lord is a great opportunity for meaningful spiritual discussions, but Christmas is even better than other times, because Christmas is about Jesus!

Read More

10 Common misconceptions about Christianity and Christians: #10 Christianity is a cop-out for people who need help or don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives

“Christianity is a crutch.” This statement is something that you would hear used by atheists, the most famous of which in modern times is Richard Dawkins.  He said such things as, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.” In other words, Christians don’t want to think for themselves, so we just explain creation and other things that we don’t understand as of divine origin. Dawkins insults the intelligence of every Christian and completely discounts the possibility of God or there being something in the world that cannot be explained by “science.”

Read More

10 Common misconceptions about Christianity and Christians: #8 Christianity was good back in the old days but is no longer relevant

Everyone seems to agree that Christianity served its purpose at some point in the distant past, but many feel that it is totally irrelevant in the secular world of our day. Now that we have been enlightened by science, belief in creation seems archaic. Now that we see that men and women should be treated with equality, the Bible’s teaching on men taking the lead in the home or in the church has been completely outdated. Now that our society has come to the realisation that any lifestyle is as legitimate as any other, the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality should be completely rejected and put into a museum alongside other curious things of the past.

Read More