by Clare Jewell
It’s time. Every mission has a launching point. We must move beyond our good intent. We can’t keep talking about evangelism. At some point, we have to take the field and execute our game plan. Souls aren’t saved, lives aren’t redeemed, by backburner evangelism. If we love the lost, then it’s time to intentionally reach the lost. No more excuses. No more delays.
Multiplication happens only when a church turns its eyes and extends its hands and feet toward those who are far from God. We can’t settle for community activism. We are not called to focus on social programs. To engage in God’s mission, we have to stay focused on word and deed. People aren’t converted by social justice alone. At some point, someone has to enter people’s stories and share the story of Jesus. It’s time to reclaim the priority of the gospel.
How can you tell if you are prioritizing the gospel?
- The pastor speaks with the lost in mind. He doesn’t assume everyone in the congregation is a Christ follower. He ruthlessly eliminates internal terminology that is understood only by those already on the inside. He helps the crowd navigate the Bible. He doesn’t assume he is speaking to an audience that assents to one worldview.
- The church creates opportunities to help people who have not crossed the line of faith. The church offers introduction-to-the-Bible courses and creates starting points for people to get on the ground floor of Christian practice and belief.
- The church provides resources geared toward people who are considering the claims of Christ.
- The church targets a portion of its budget to reach people outside the church.
- The church hosts outreach events that purposely connect believers and unbelievers.
- The church teaches its people how to share the gospel and their own stories of faith in Christ.
To move people into active evangelism, a church can also do the following:
- Remind people that we evangelize because someone evangelized us.
- Teach people that evangelism is a normal and natural part of life. Jesus shared His love and grace by meeting people where they were, talking with them, and getting to know their stories. It’s relational. It’s conversational. It’s not complicated.
- Give your people multiple methods of and approaches to evangelism. At one church I pastored, we taught people how to share their own personal stories of transformation through Christ. We taught them how to present the gospel using the book of Romans. We helped them utilize a chronological Bible study. We gave them illustrations that enabled them to share the gospel clearly on a napkin.
- Celebrate gospel stories. Provide opportunities for new believers to talk about their life change. Interview people who have recently shared their faith. Pray for unsaved people in worship services and then celebrate answers to prayer. Make baptism a really big deal, because baptism is a really big deal.
- Teach the gospel well. Teach it consistently. Preach the gospel every week.
Evangelism is everyone’s responsibility! As leaders, we must create a culture of outreach. As we create a path for our people to share Christ, they will be much more likely to head in that direction.
It’s time. Every mission has a launching point. We must move beyond our good intent.
Clare Jewell is national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Ministries.