Most churches/denominations start with a Pioneer mentality. They are willing to sacrifice for the cause, to go boldly where no man or woman has gone before. They are willing to take risks, innovate, do things differently. At some point, that all changes. People become settlers. It becomes about them. Their music. Their taste. Their preferences. The lost can come, yes, but we are not going to disturb our lives to go get them. Ask yourself: How many people come to my church, week after week, year after year, and bring NO ONE as a guest? Why does that happen? A settler mentality has set in.
Everyone says they want new people to come to their church. Until they show up. It’s been my observation that the longer people are members of a church the more they forget how unbelievers actually live. Some studies have found that in just five years after a person is baptized his circle of friends is composed primarily of church people.
What steps can you take to increase the evangelism participation in your life and your congregation?
What can we do to restore a Pioneer frame of mind? You overcome this in three ways:
a. Preach it consistently.
Vision leaks. The evangelism vision leaks faster. There is a natural and supernatural resistance to evangelism. Since preaching increases participation, the pulpit should be a regular promoter of this spiritual expectation. This is what worked for me:
1. Every week we had a public testimony of a person who was won, a small group that did outreach or something related to evangelism. Stories work better than just exhortation.
2. I had a month long series pretty much every year on evangelism/sharing your faith.
3. We had a class for members once a quarter where we brought in a guest speaker to teach the church on an area related to evangelism. Members paid $10 and we provided lunch and materials.
4. We made evangelism the first point (sometimes the only point) of the agenda.
b. Live it personally.
Since we can’t really take anyone where we have not been ourselves, we should not expect our members to invite their friends when we haven’t brought ours. I once had a pastor tell me straight up that he never had brought one person to Jesus personally. Four years of college. Three years in Andrews. Five years in the ministry. He had more classes on evangelism than people evangelized.
c. Address it privately.
Not sharing your faith is a spiritual problem. If you saw a spiritual problem in other areas, you would probably address it. Why not here? I believe a part of the responsibility of a pastor is to confront atrophy. Lovingly. Patiently. Specifically.
Any other ideas or comments? Share them below.