Seven ways to raise the value of Evangelism

3

04/11/2016 by Chris Green

coffeeconvo620I heard it again this week: a Christian, defending a good Christian activity, saying “But we are not trying to proselytise.”  ‘Proselytise’ is just a another way of saying’ evangelise’ – or simply, ‘tell people about Jesus.’  So my first reaction was, “But why ever wouldn’t you want to do that?”

And I know the answer: it’s because of the push-back that we anticipate, brace ourselves for, practice feeling the pain for, and therefore fear.  As Bill Hybels puts it, “We say people’s ‘No’ for them.”

Put it in harsh spotlight, of course, and we know he’s right.  So here are seven ways we can keep evangelism on our church’s agenda.

1. Preach regularly for decision

This is perhaps the most obvious, but the least used, tool in our box: aim in our sermons to invite people to become Christians, right there and then.  Every so often, we need a ‘today’s the day’ message – what we sometimes call a ‘shake the tree’ Sunday when, which no big fanfare or invitational lead-in, we simply preach for decision.  I’m not a big ‘come to the front’ or raise your hand’ fan – but I aim to lead folk in a prayer, gently and clearly, in what we used to call ‘the sinner’s prayer.’

It has the added benefit that it helps our regular members to see what a simple explanation and invitation looks like, so that when they are speaking to their own friends, they can also ask, ‘So what’s stopping you from becoming a Christian right now…?”

2. Plan for the decision, and the follow up

How do we do it?  We have postcards printed that we can leave in the backs of seats.  They are dead simple, with four letters: A, B, C and D .  They stand forAlready a Christian; Beginning today; Considering; and Don’t believe a word of it, and I reckon anyone can circle one of those.  There’s space for a name and address, if they want to tell us their decision, which is what we encourage.

And there’s a connection too: there’s a particular book that day for anyone who circled B, C, or D, and an invitation to our next course.  Plus, we are primed to do 1:1 follow up, with some space in the diary.

3. Assume self service

But people become Christians all the time, in God’s sovereign plan.  So we have a simple plastic wallet  on the welcome desk, entitled ‘It’s just the beginning: If you became a Christian today, this is the pack for you’.  There’s a gospel, a booklet, a CD with a couple of talks, a letter from me, and a contact card.  And one of those walks, most weeks.

4. Teach and equip the members to pray

This is old-school, again, but really important: we need to encourage our members to pray, by name, for their non-Christian friends, whom they intend to invite to an event we are laying on.  I was always encouraged to pray for three; our diocese is encouraging us to pray for seven (one a day).  It’s something we shall be deliberately encouraging people to do as we head into the Christmas season.  We shall be giving them cards to fill in and slip in their wallets. I’m increasingly convinced that we need to teach the ‘how-to’ as well as the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’

 I’m increasingly convinced that we need to teach the ‘how-to’ as well as the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’

5. Identify the next step

Some of our events are quite clear gospel presentations, others are more allusive and designed to provoke thought.  We have a choral evensong next week, which is exactly that.  So always, always, identify the next step in the pathway.  ‘Did you enjoy this evening?  Well, in a few weeks time…’  Don’t let anything exist outside that invitational chain.

6. Check my own diary

Oh, this is the battleground.  As a pastor I can find time for everything and everyone except my own personal evangelism.  I don’t think I’ve ever won this, and I’m not actually a natural one-to-one evangelist (although if I think about it, that should make me an ideal guinea pig for most church members who are in exactly the same boat!).  But I need to ask myself, constantly, who are the non-Christian friends I am praying for?

7. Pray Chappo’s prayer

And finally I need to remember the prayer of the wonderful Aussie evangelist, John Chapman.  “Lord, give me opportunities – and don’t be subtle.”  Amen!

3 thoughts on “Seven ways to raise the value of Evangelism

  1. These ideas are really helpful. Particularly liked the A – D card and the welcome pack. In the welcome pack, could you say what booklet you would typically include?

  2. Dave says:

    It also affects how we partner. I occassionally get offered the opportunity to apply for grants. The proviso being “you will not proselytise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Publication of The Goldilocks Zone

Launch dayJanuary 18th, 2018
57 days to go.

Living as a Christian in the 21st century means we face constant battles to please God. That’s why I wrote ‘PURITY: Living to please God in an impure world – 15 daily readings in 1 Thessalonians.’

There’s only way to get it – by subscribing to my  email newsletter here.

Topics

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Terms and conditions

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2017 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: