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The Ripple Effect for Evangelism


When I think about a ripple effect, I think about the effect a rock has when it is thrown into the calm waters of a pond. The energy released by the initial splash disturbs the stillness of the water as the ripples travel out, some even touching the shore. But eventually these ripples dissipate and the waters retreat back into a calm. The only way to keep the waters stirred is to keep splashing, to keep the energy going.


Evangelism in a church is often like splashing water in a pond. For evangelism to keep its proper place there must be continual evangelistic ripples in the church. The ripples spread in all directions transforming lives as they go.


In looking at evangelism in the body of Christ, there are at least six ripples that need to be energized continually. Let’s look at each of these along with some recommendations for ways to keep the ripple effect going.


At the end of this blog, I'm making available a free download: Suggestions for an Annual Evangelism Strategy. Even if you only get one idea from it, it will be worth it.


1. The first ripple is the pastor.

He is the initial splash in the waters of evangelism. According to the Scriptures, he is one of those charged with the responsibility to equip the church for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). Certainly a huge part of that work would be evangelism. What can a pastor do for himself and the church that will keep evangelism stirring on an annual basis? Here are some ideas:

  • Be challenged intellectually in evangelism. The pastor should read 2 or 3 good books a year on the subject of evangelism. These should both be intellectual and passionate.

  • Pastor should schedule weekly evangelistic visits.

  • Meet weekly with another pastor friend and share not only personal and church items, but hold one another accountable in your Christian witness.

  • Plan and calendar a yearly evangelism strategy through church leadership. (see Suggestions for an Annual Evangelism Strategy button at end)

  • Mentor one or two new believers each year. This will help you to see a renewed perspective of newfound faith. It will keep you fresh.

  • Establish a seasonal church-wide need-based evangelism and outreach ministry.

2. The second ripple is the staff.

Many churches have paid ministerial staff. While the pastor touches these, they will touch many more of the leaders in the church as well. What can the church staff do on an annual basis?

  • At staff meetings make pastor and staff’s personal witnessing a topic of conversation and prayer.

  • Assign staff to read exceptional books on evangelism and/or important articles on evangelism. Subscribe to Outreach Magazine.

  • Encourage staff to mentor a new believer each year. Make this a topic at staff meetings.

  • Make participation in the evangelism/outreach ministry mandatory for staff.

3. The third ripple is the volunteer church leadership.

In most Baptist churches this will be Deacons and the Church Council (Chairpersons of committees or teams). Ministry decisions are made by these two groups. Deacons are an example of active ministry. The Church council is the planning and implementing of ministry. What can be done in these two groups to continue the ripple of evangelism?

  • At each meeting, pray for the lost.

  • Develop the church evangelism strategy with Staff, Deacons and Church Council.

  • Talk about the church evangelism strategy and update its status.

  • Appoint and empower an evangelism leader to be on the Church Council.

  • The evangelism leader should attend and report on the church evangelism strategy.

  • The evangelism leader should form a church evangelism team from every major ministry area in the church to help implement the strategy.

  • Establish an intercessory prayer ministry for the lost.

4. The fourth ripple is the Sunday School or Small Group Ministry teacher.

Make evangelism a regular part of this ministry. The group teacher or leader has an important influence. Here are some ways to continue the ripple effect of evangelism out to your Sunday School or Small Group teachers:

  • At each meeting, ask for specific requests for the lost to be saved. Challenge members to find lost people in their networks and take their requests as well. Pray for them.

  • Challenge members to share with the lost.

  • Periodically have an outreach fellowship. Holiday times are a good time to invite those who are spiritually lost.

  • Participate in a servanthood evangelism project as a group.

  • Take evangelism training as a group. Learn how to share a salvation testimony in a relatable way. Learn a simple presentation of the gospel, such as the Roman Road.

5. The fifth ripple is other ministry volunteers.

This would be anyone who has a position of any responsibility in the church.

  • Make personal evangelism training a part of that position.

  • Consider making every area of ministry represented on the evangelism team.

  • Periodically have all ministry volunteers fill out a “Who Do You Know” questionnaire to discover possible prospects for prayer and evangelism.

6. The sixth and last ripple is the general church member.

These are not serving in any official capacity in the church. Here are a few things to help involve them in the ripple effect of evangelism.

  • Offer church wide evangelism training at least on an annual basis.

  • Structure Sunday morning worship to make it easy for church members to invite the lost.

  • Do a felt needs series and print high quality promotional resources church members will be proud to use.

  • Have a yearly or bi-yearly “Friend Day” emphasis.

  • Don’t over program your church. Members need time to connect with people outside of church.

  • Have an annual or semi-annual special evangelistic event that involves all ages of your church. Many who will not commit to a long-term ministry will do something that is a special event.

Two things to keep in mind when thinking about the ripple effect, like that of a splash in the water: First, the ripples closest to the splash are the greatest. This means the pastor should carefully consider who he is pouring his life into for evangelism. The pastor needs to be strategic in staffing and leadership. Second, the greater the impact, the further the ripples go. The pastor, whether he likes it or not, is the one who can make the greatest impact. The pastor cannot abdicate this to someone else. There is no one else.


Implementing one or two of these will not have much impact for evangelism in your church. Doing all of them for a short time will likewise have a minimal effect. But utilizing all six and doing it over time will establish a ripple effect that could grow into full waves of evangelism. These waves will have crest and trough, but they will stir the waters of evangelism in your church and change lives for eternity.



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