We’ve all heard the church planting leads to evangelism but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. It’s evangelism that leads to people coming to Christ. It’s entirely possible to plant a church with next to no evangelism taking place. That’s not my original insight. Fifty years ago Donald McGavern said, “It’s entirely possible to come out a ripe field with empty hands.” That’s certainly still true today in the church planting world!
God’s church goes forward numerically only as she connects with newcomers in her path, yet it seems to be increasingly difficult for pastors, much less regular church folk, to relate to the notion of evangelism. This is an irrational notion.
People tend to panic at the mere mention of the “E” word but it doesn’t need to be that way. Evangelism is our friend. Let’s warm up to her once again.
Consider these evangelism truths that defray irrational fears.
1. The senior leader of the local church is the primary mentor who guides the way of outreach for his church. This is so even if that pastor’s gifts don’t naturally lie in the area of outreach.
2. “Evangelism” isn’t such a bad word after all… once they experience a bit of the joy of it. I use the term “Kindness outreach” instead of “Servant Evangelism” at first to woo people into the cusp of outreach, ut then I don’t worry about the “E” word. Once they experience it they are no longer fearful.
3. Stop feeling you are in charge of something. You really can’t make something happen. Your role is to be enthusiastically available.
4. Lean into the power of God for fruit that will last. For example, “the kindness of God leads to repentance” says Paul in Romans 2:4b. As we serve others, to a large degree, God defines himself to skeptics. He does the defining work.
5. Train others as you learn about evangelism yourself. The best training is always the on the job sort.
6. Trust in the timing of God for ultimate fruitfulness. All good things happen in the timing of God. When people try to force the timing of God in evangelism things get messy.
7. Follow the leadership of God in evangelism in order to see ultimate fruitfulness.
8. Hope for the future of the person.
9. Connect with those who are contagious with God’s love.
10. Live on the power of hope.
10.5 Don’t forget to have fun as you do evangelism! The greatest enjoyment a human can experience is in leading another person to Christ. To do this on a regular basis is the greatest fulfillment imaginable. Impart this value in your people from the get go of your church. It will change everything about your church!