I am a runner. At least, I like to think of myself as a runner. Over the years as I have immersed myself into the running culture that I never knew existed, I have learned new techniques, how to position my body in order to run faster, what to look for in shoes and apparel, and many other things that help me maximize my running abilities. One can be inundated with all the new products, races, and medals that the running world offers. However, having the right shoes, GPS watches, clothing, and books do not make you a runner; running does!
As we look across the landscape of churches in America, many have all the right accessories to be an evangelistic church. They have great preachers, incredible worship, state-of-the-art facilities, and all the things they could ever need in order to attract families to the church. Yet they are not winning people to Jesus and their baptisms are at an all-time low. How can this be? I believe the answer lies within the same concept of running. We can have all we need to be effective evangelistic churches, but that doesn’t make you an evangelistic church—doing evangelism does!
As I observe churches who year after year are seeing many people saved and baptized, I have come to the conclusion that there are five key components or habits in the life of a church that leads them to evangelistic effectiveness. I pray these will assist your church in reaching more people for Jesus than ever before.
1. THE PASTOR LEADS THE CHARGE
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of a church becoming highly effective in their evangelism efforts. The pastor must be the one who is blowing the trumpet of intentional evangelism. It is said that the church will take on the personality of the pastor. If this is true, an evangelistic pastor will lead to an evangelistic church. We need pastors to stand up and lead the charge by modeling evangelism and clearly communicating the commands to do evangelism in the Scriptures. If the pastor will lead the way, the church will follow!
2. THE CHURCH KNOWS THEIR COMMUNITY
It cannot be emphasized enough that a church that knows their community the best will have a better chance of reaching their community for Jesus. Churches that have an understanding of the layout of their community and who is in their community can then develop strategies to engage them with the gospel of Christ. When a church knows their community they can begin looking at their community through the lenses of the Great Commission and lead their people to be missionaries in the city. At some point, God planted your church in your community to know and love the people in which He planted you. As you know them, you can build the bridges to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.
3. THE PEOPLE ARE EQUIPPED
One of the greatest hindrances to churches becoming highly evangelistic is the assumption that they know how to share their faith. We must never assume that any believer knows how to clearly articulate the gospel. A common belief is that 95 percent of Christ- followers never share Jesus with anyone. I would submit this would likely be the result due to the lack of equipping believers on how to share the gospel. Churches that are highly evangelistic are very intentional in equipping their people to share Jesus. There are many different tools that are available to churches to equip their people. However, a tool is not effective if left in the tool box. Churches that equip their people to share the gospel are equipping their people to reach their community.
4. THE CHURCH HAS A DESIRE TO WIN THEIR COMMUNITY TO JESUS
In order for a church to reach their community for Christ, they must desire to win their community to Christ. In many churches today, the mentality is so inwardly focused that they do not know what to do to reach their community. If we are going to the see floodgates of revival open across our cities and communities, it must begin with a desire to see our friends and neighbors saved.
The apostle Paul tells us of his heart in Romans 10:1 when he declares, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Paul clearly communicates that his heart desires for his people to be saved. As churches, our heart must beat for the lost to come to Jesus! The absence of our desire for people to know Jesus is the presence of our desire for them to go to Hell. When churches develop a heart and desire for their community to know Jesus, you will begin to see many communities transformed by the power of Christ!
5. EVANGELISM IS CONSISTENTLY HIGHLIGHTED BEFORE THE CHURCH
One of the greatest things a pastor can do for his church is to consistently highlight how God is using the church to reach people with the gospel. Oftentimes we show videos of missionaries in a far-away land doing an exceptional work for the Lord. However, if you want a church to get fired up about the gospel, have people in the church highlight for the church the different experiences of sharing the gospel that week. I am convinced that there is nothing that will change the culture of a church like evangelism will. When people in the church constantly hear stories of the gospel being shared and people coming to Jesus, it will begin to sink in their minds and hearts that they, too, can be used greatly by God. A church that is excited about evangelism is a church that spends a lot of time highlighting evangelism.
So where is your church with evangelism? Do you have all the accessories needed but can’t seem to gain traction? I encourage you to consider these five habits that churches utilize and begin seeing how God will use them. When one begins running, he doesn’t immediately go out and run a marathon. Instead, he begins running one step at a time. In order to get to the marathon, you have to do just that—start running. The same can be said about evangelism. In order to reach your community for Jesus, begin by reaching one!