By Tim Corbin, Director of Convention Strategies/COO
with Mark Spence, Pastor of Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church
It was the first time for Meredith to share Christ with anyone. She had been encouraged by her pastor for years but had never shared. The confidence she shown after sharing for the first time, though, demonstrated a lasting impact on her life!
Pastor Mark Spence along with other church leadership, set out to create a “third lane” of spiritual growth for their members aiming to equip their people for “Faith in Life”. The first “two lanes” are the Worship Service and Small Groups of their church. Realizing those two only cover just a few hours each week, they put together strategic emphases throughout the year to focus on various spiritual disciplines.
One of the recent emphases was Evangelism. Mark knew it was not enough to encourage people to share their faith from the pulpit. That part is easy and still necessary, but there needs to be a time we equip our people in how to do it, and then follow up with loving accountability.
The leadership designed an intentional plan called “Tell Someone,” inspired by Greg Laurie’s book by the same title. Encouraging their church to buy and read the book, they also invited them to participate in a training. They focused on equipping and sending members, and then celebrating God’s work.
During the equipping time, participants learned how to share their faith story and a gospel presentation. Then they practiced repeatedly with one another to become familiar and more comfortable with sharing. “The key is not only giving them a structure to share their story and the gospel,” says Mark, “but also having them practice until they build the confidence needed to share.”
After equipping, it was time to tell someone. They set out into the community in small groups to share. Participants followed specific mapped areas and were given instructions and Bibles to hand out. Mark noted it’s important to give people an easy onramp to get into the game by taking them along and actually sharing.
When they returned from going out, they debriefed by sharing their experiences. In addition to someone receiving Christ, they celebrated how God worked through their conversations. They discussed who they were going to follow up with and rejoiced that some shared their faith for the first time ever, including Meredith.
The win for Mark is not that they created something new. “This isn’t a new plan. But it’s our plan. If we don’t have an intentional plan, then we will likely never do it,” Mark stated.
If we rely solely on inviting people to church to hear the gospel, then we will miss out on a harvest awaiting us, as well as the opportunity for spiritual growth afforded to our people learning to live out their “Faith in Life.”