Updated: May 19, 2022
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” (John 4:35, ESV)
“…I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 6, ESV)
The solution to many of the pressing problems in our churches can be remedied by a regular, simple, and varied approach to evangelism. Evangelism is something that makes both Christians and non-Christians uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable because we have developed a caricature of evangelism as something that is boorish, insensitive, and intrusive. But the evangelism that we see in the New Testament and especially modeled by the apostles is quite different. It is good news. And good news is for sharing. We should present it as such. With this said, I want to offer five tried and true ways to motivate your church to evangelize.
1. Offer personal evangelism training regularly
Research has concluded that personal evangelism training increases the participants positive outlook on evangelism and confidence in them personally sharing their faith.[i] From my work in training church members in personal evangelism as well as promoting, and producing personal evangelism resources, I’ve seen the following changes in people and churches from a consistent and quality evangelism equipping strategy:
An increased understanding of the gospel
An appreciation of the importance of the gospel
A greater ability to speak on spiritual things
A dynamic devotional life
Greater involvement in outreach ministries of the church.
A growing participation in the stewardship of their time, talents, and treasure
Honestly, there is no downside of offering personal evangelism training on a regular basis. There are many ways to do this and many different models to choose from. However, the choices can be overwhelming. I have a couple of ways that do not interfere with your current church schedule or require a long-term commitment.
One of these ways for training is to preach/teach the Roman Road Gospel presentation during a Sunday morning service. Most of the time there are decisions for Christ made right there! If you want to know more about teaching/preaching this plan of salvation, you can click on the button to download the Roman Road to Salvation outline.
2. Engage in ministries that engage the unchurched community around you
It’s important to connect personal evangelism training to actual opportunity to share the gospel. Community focused outreach is one of the most effective ways in doing this for your congregation. What outward facing ministries does your church have that engage the need of the unchurched and churched around you? Perhaps you have several. It is important that the felt needs of the community drive the ministries you offer.
In Fairburn Baptist Association, I conducted a survey in 2021 of our church members as to the community needs in which they were concerned. Three top issues came to the forefront:
Children’s Education – Concern for children falling behind in academics
Resilience – The stresses and anxieties of the pandemic and all that has gone with it.
First Responders – concern for the well-being and funding of Police, Fire, EMS and Essential Workers.
From this list, our association has offered training and information on how our churches can be a support in these areas as well as be a witness to the love of God in Christ Jesus. If you’d like more information on these, you can download our Mission Opportunities at FBA document by clicking on the button below. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whatever ministry you have that connects your church to the needs of the community, make sure you connect the gospel to that ministry. Find a way to appropriately share the gospel of Christ in every ministry from Food Banks to English as a Second Language (ESL), to a Mother’s Day Out or Date Nights for Parents, to Tutoring 2nd and 3rd graders in READ Georgia, to bringing meals to eat with Firefighters, everyone in your church should be trained and motivated to share their faith in a relational and appropriate way.
3. Share personal evangelism stories often
Sharing your personal evangelism stories doesn’t mean you only share the ones where someone received Christ. Most of the stories I could tell are ways I've fumbled the gospel or how the minds and hearts of people didn’t change before my eyes. Tell your attempts at sharing your faith too. Everyone loves to hear when someone repents and turns their life over to Christ, but if that's all you share, others will get the idea that if they don’t always see people becoming Christ followers, they are not effective. They will become discouraged. We don’t share the gospel for our ego, we share it because it is worth sharing.
If you are a pastor, share your stories of personal evangelism in your messages. Share the sad, the funny, the successes and the failures. By the way, when you share Christ, you never fail. Sharing is the success, not the result. That’s up to God.
4. Highlight personal salvation stories frequently
If your church has a newsletter, feature a members personal salvation story, or recovery story. A recovery story is how someone was already a Christian but for whatever reason they lapsed. Now they have come back. What changed in their life? What event took place that became turning point for them? These are things we want to know.
If you are a worship leader, have one of the worship team to share their testimony of salvation between worship sets or songs. If you have a choir, have all the choir write out their personal salvation story and give it to you. As you choose songs, perhaps one or more of the testimonies will fit the song and you can record their story on video and show it prior to singing that song. It will make the song have a greater connection to the congregation. It will also encourage guests to make a commitment to Christ.
If you are a small group leader, make it a priority to regularly have one of the group members to share their story of salvation with the group. I have discovered that when we know another person’s story, it becomes another tool for you to share the gospel. It’s okay to share another person’s story. We talk about other people all the time. All you need to do in conversation is say, “That reminds me of what happened to my friend…” and off you go.
Perhaps while you are reading you have thought of other ways to get out the compelling stories of God’s grace in your people’s lives. It is good for us to hear them, but it is better for them to share.
If you’d like a helpful resource on writing out a personal salvation story, click the button.
5. Seed your messages with the gospel and encouragements to share the gospel
This is an encouragement for pastors, teachers, and small group leaders. In you teaching and preaching, keep in mind to look for places for the gospel message to connect. Often when I preach, I will begin my message by sharing how it will end. I will tell them that at the end of the message I will ask for a commitment to Christ. I will share why it is important. This will plant the thought of committing to Christ at the beginning of the message. It will also allow me to highlight a portion of the gospel that relates to my following message.
Somewhere in the teaching or preaching share the substitutionary, sacrificial atoning work of Christ and what it means today. Share what it means to you. I have heard many, many sermons and teachings that were faithful to a passage but totally devoid of the gospel. I have heard many messages that talk about the gospel but didn’t share the gospel. I have heard many invitations at the close of a sermon, inviting someone to commit to a Christ they never heard about in the sermon. Your invitation, your call to commitment must flow from the message. Therefore, it is important for the gospel to be seeded in the teaching and for you to encourage others to share this message themselves.
My desire is that something is shared in this blog that will help you and your church family to be more intentional in fulfilling the Great Commission. I pray the Lord will honor your efforts to be equipped and to equip others in sharing their faith.
[i] Kwan, Albert Tak Yin. How Do Participants in an Evangelism Training Program Assess its Impact on Their Ability and Confidence in Sharing Their Personal Faith? D.Min. Project. 2016. https://bit.ly/3st83th