Following up from his first post, Dave Jensen, the Missions Pastor from MBM Church, shares six more points that have helped his team create a greater missional culture within their congregation. See his first article for the first five points – Ed.
6) Equip your evangelists
Evangelistic training is only as good as the deliberate evangelistic opportunities which follow. Training people to articulate the gospel is wonderful, however, for many participants it will quickly be filed in the ‘too hard basket’. It is necessary therefore to train your congregation in evangelism and give them a non-threatening opportunity to practice their evangelism. We have our ‘Christianity 101’ courses every term, and so it is relatively simple for us to print invitations for this course, put them in service outlines, and for our service leader to encourage our church members to invite someone along, utilising the invitation. The same can happen for an evangelistic series, a Christmas or Easter event, or a pre-evangelistic event such as a parenting seminar or kid’s playtime.
Of course, there is still a desire to train and equip your congregations key evangelists to be more effective. Thus we are looking at having four smaller, sign-up evangelistic training discussions through the year. These discussions will be a time of encouragement, prayer, stories, and also more practical, hands on advice and wisdom from our seasoned and fruitful evangelists.
7) Unleash your evangelists
Most churches have evangelists within their congregation – they’re the people who just naturally invite people to church or to events, people who share their faith openly with those they know, and those who are just uncomfortable when they’re not talking about Jesus! The question is how do we best utilise these people? Once you have identified these people, there are two effective strategies that we use to ensure they’re utilising the gifts God has given them, in events, and on Sunday:
- Events – recruit, equip and train your evangelists to be ‘table hosts’ at your ‘Christianity 101’ course. Have them in the room and encourage them to chat to guests and visitors. Often these evangelists will have their own guests, in which case encourage them to attend the course with their guests. Be intentional in your training with them – go through common conversations, situations and questions that people often have at these events. Brief them beforehand about the importance of their role, and celebrate with them when people come to know and love the Lord Jesus. Often your evangelists will be champion ‘inviters’ but struggle to articulate the gospel. Encourage them in their inviting whilst also encouraging them to grow in their natural gifting.
- Sunday – as we’ve identified, most guests you will have will attend on any given Sunday. It’s subsequently important to ensure that your guests are, if possible, evangelised in conversation after the service. Encourage your evangelists to be intentional in their church attendance; where they sit, who they sit with, and how they spend their time after the service is vital. Their role is not in welcoming all newcomers, there should be other people with that role. Rather, your evangelists should be encouraged to spot guests and attempt to engage them in an intentionally evangelistic conversation. One way they can do this is by simply observing which of the visitors or newcomers (who should be easy enough to spot) aren’t singing in the songs – there’s a good chance that those people aren’t yet Christians (or they may be Christians who hate music!). After a while your regular congregation will know who these your evangelists are, and so they will intentionally seek them out with their guests afterwards to introduce them.
8) Expect results – celebrate results
We need to have an expectation that God will bring people to salvation after the proclamation of the Gospel – he promises they will! Having a mindset that people will become Christians through the course of your evangelistic endeavour brings energy, motivation and passion to what you do. It’s not going ‘through the motions’ – it’s one of the key functions of the church!
What’s also important is celebrating when people do get saved. Celebrate from the front of a Sunday service with your congregation when people come to know and love the Lord (don’t mention them by name!). This gets people excited about the work of God, and also encourages them to bring their contacts to church as they’re empowered in the knowledge that God is working here.
9) Ask the question – give permission
It’s very difficult for people to become Christians when they don’t know how to become a Christian, therefore, make it simple – and ask people if they’d like to become a follower of Jesus! You can do this from the front after a talk, with an altar call, an insert in your weekly bulletin, or, most effectively, in one-to-one evangelistic conversation. Don’t leave a presentation of the Gospel lingering in awkwardness, actually have a ‘close’ to the conversation – and how better than in the form of calling them to submit to the will of God, to repent and believe!
10) Information flow
Having your staff on board with your missional attitude is crucial. It turns every Sunday, many mid-week conversations, and many encounters into an opportunity for evangelism. It might well be that several of your staff are gifted in many things but not evangelism – which is fine! However, it’s still crucial that all staff are on the look out for guests and visitors coming to church, and any and all evangelistic opportunities. However, in the busyness of ministry life sometimes these people can slip through the cracks. At our church we raise the issues of ‘new conversions’ and ‘names for Christianity 101 course’ every single week. This ensures that we communicate who these people are to our mission team, and are able to allocate people and resources in order to follow them up. Let no one attend our churches without, at the very least, hearing the Gospel!
11) Employ a Mission/Evangelism pastor!
Is evangelism a priority for your church? If so, modelling this within the staff team is a great way of encouraging your congregation. If financially possible, employing a pastor specifically dedicated to evangelism and mission is ideal – and a great way of ensuring that missional strategic thinking is part of everything the church is doing. If this is not possible, then current staff should be encouraged to focus part of their current role onto this area.
Did you miss the first part of this article? Click here for: 5 Steps To A Missional Culture