Skye Alison began his career in ministry at age 25 and has always focused on training others to share the gospel as a lifestyle no matter what role he filled. The ideas he offers here come from 25 years of pastoral ministry in five states. Today he heads up a ... read more
Ten Strategies for Prioritizing Evangelism at Your Church
I can sum up in one sentence the best way to evangelize. It’s something I learned early on in my ministry career.
We gotta love people.
That’s it. We need to just show them we care, truly CARE. It may be old school. It may make you laugh or roll your eyes, but it comes down to that truth.
For example, in my early days as a pastor, I wanted to reach a group of teens in the neighborhood where the church was located. One day, I was leaving the parsonage and noticed some boys playing basketball at the hoop behind the church. (Our church was close to an apartment complex and kids would routinely find their way over to the outside basketball court.) I was wearing a suit, but jumped out of the car anyway and started jawing with them and just having fun. I’m terrible at basketball, but that didn’t stop me from making a deal with them. If I won, they would have to come to church. They agreed and shockingly, every time I threw the ball up, it went in! Definitely a God thing.
To make a long story short, I ended up beating them and they came to church! I coached our church teens ahead of time on how to make them feel welcome. The boys not only came- they stayed!
At its core, evangelism is all about practical ways we show our love to those who don’t know Christ. It’s about building relationships so unbelievers are receptive to hearing the truth and will welcome the answer in Christ. Below are my top 10 ideas you can use in your church to create an evangelistic culture and realize life change in your community.
Tips to Make Evangelism a Visible Priority in Your Church Culture
1. This may seem like a ‘no brainer’ but start keeping stats on key figures. For example, you might track the number of people joining your church, by profession of faith, number of baptisms, number of those taking evangelism classes, etc. Then make sure you publicly celebrate those faith steps. If people see life change happening, they’re more likely to embrace the culture of evangelism.
2. In some way, include the concept of evangelism in your mission or vision statement. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if evangelism isn’t a stated goal, you’re not likely to reach it.
3. Include evangelism as a line item percentage in your budget planning each year. If you say something is important, you should be willing to put funds behind it- and I think we can all agree that helping people discover Jesus is an integral part of the mission of the church!
How to Train Your People to Succeed at Evangelism
4. Make evangelism training classes a regular part of your offerings at church just like membership and other class offerings; and recognize people going through it with a certificate of achievement. Then, have them share a story of how they put the training to work.
5. Train ‘greeters’ to see themselves as an important part of the first impression new people have of the whole church! Ask newcomers what their first impressions were of the church and share with the greeting team.
6. Train prayer personnel to see themselves as “first responders,” if your church has altar calls and/or invites people to come forward for prayer. If you have an online engagement team, make sure that they’re given the same training as the prayer personnel. After all, in the digital age, your social media team needs to be trained to witness and respond to people who are meeting Jesus through your online ministry!
7. Make it a goal to actually commission 10% of your members in ‘lifestyle’ seed sowing and evangelism. When you’ve established this, regularly share their stories with the congregation as a whole. In other words, spotlight your in-house missionaries and their mission fields.
Discover Unmet Needs … Then Meet Them
8. Do a survey to discover the needs of your community, then buy into meeting those needs in some way during the year in a major coordinated effort. Nothing shows people that you care like listening to them and making sure their needs are met.
Advice for Event Outreach
9. During the major “community needs” event, offer something free and do whatever is necessary to obtain the name, address, phone and email address of those whose needs you meet. Afterward, add their information to your list for follow up. Then, make sure you do follow up. At the very least, ask to use their story in your church communications. This will open doors for conversation about their story and will allow you to show them that you care about them as a person.
10. Baptisms and celebrations are another opportunity for empowering people to evangelize! When someone is scheduled to be baptized, send invitations to all their family and friends (no doubt some will not be saved), and include in the baptismal tank the person who was the significant influence for Christ in their lives. But don’t stop there! Instead, share these stories widely through the church communications channels and offer copies to the individuals involved to share in their circles outside of church.