What is an evangelism strategy? Join co-hosts Johnny Hunt and Kevin Ezell as they answer that question and discuss the importance of pastors having an evangelism strategy for their churches. Discover where an evangelism strategy comes into play in pastoral leadership and hear practical tips on how to get combat the challenges many pastors face when starting their strategies and begin yours, today.
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Kevin Ezell: You’re listening to evangelism with Johnny Hunt podcast. I’m your host Kevin Ezell with Johnny Hunt. And Brother Johnny on our last episode we highlighted the Engage 24 evangelism workshops we have available to assist pastors as they lead their church in evangelism. One of the components of a pastor leading his church in evangelism is making an evangelism strategy or having an evangelism strategy.
Kevin Ezell: How important would you say is an evangelism strategy for a pastor?
Johnny Hunt: It’s extremely important if not Kevin, I’m challenging our people to be involved in a really the most important part of our ministry because that’s certainly making disciples and sharing the gospel. Any discipleship that doesn’t share the gospel is not New Testament. So I’ve got to have a strategy in place so that when the people embrace my vision for evangelism, it’s really the clear road upon which we run. It’s the way we work. It’s what we do.
Kevin Ezell: Right. Well sometimes there’s confusion between a vision and a strategy. Can you clarify for us the difference between the vision for a church and an evangelism strategy?
Johnny Hunt: This is where leadership and evangelism is so married. So here would be the thought. People talk about, I’m a leader. If I’m the pastor, I have been called to lead that church. So what are the distinguishing qualities of a leader?
Johnny Hunt: Number one, I really don’t think you can really consider yourself a leader if you don’t have a vision.
Johnny Hunt: What is a vision? A vision is a picture of what could be. In other words, I go to a church and here’s what I’m given. If I’m not a leader I may just manage what I have, therefore I’m a manager. But a leader begins to see what could be.
Johnny Hunt: Now that’s his vision and he has to be able to not only see it himself, but paint a word picture to his people as to what he sees. Now, you can have a vision of what could be and never really make a difference until that becomes your mission.
Johnny Hunt: So what is our mission? Our mission is, we want to look like our community. And in doing that we want to reach the people in the homes around our church and even regionally with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Johnny Hunt: So what is the strategy? The strategy is really the goals that we begin to set and the strategy that we use for the mission to become a reality. Here’s the best way I can describe it. Nehemiah had a vision. What was his vision? Build a wall. But he could have just had that vision, stayed in Babylon with Arterchses and he would have died with the vision in his heart.
Johnny Hunt: But then he made it his mission. He moved to Jerusalem. At night when everyone was asleep, he was on a donkey riding around, doing what? Coming up with a strategy. I could put Judah on the wall between this gate and this gate. He was a realist. He said you know we’ve got some enemies here. We’re gonna need a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other hand, but we can get it done.
Johnny Hunt: He would rally them together and encourage them. There were time that the hands of the workers become weak and that’s what happens in our churches. Our evangelism is strong, it’s no longer strong. You back up, you see where you are, you come back and reinforce that strategy to be able to make a difference. You have to allow for obstacles. There’s gonna always be the naysayers about what we’re doing.
Johnny Hunt: I don’t think you ought to do that style of evangelism. Moody was often criticized for his strategy, to which he asked one person, what would you recommend? They said, I really don’t have a strategy to which he responded, like mine better than yours.
Johnny Hunt: And come up with a strategy that really works for you and then embrace that as the work. Make that your mission that’s really come out of the vision God’s placed in your heart.
Kevin Ezell: Exactly. I know as a pastor you mentioned challenges and a pastor can face challenges when he wants to create and implement a strategy for a church. I’d love you to address how to overcome some of those challenges. I mention often my very first church voted me in seven to zero. Hilltop Baptist Church in North Fort Worth, Texas. I set those seven people down on Wednesday night, I’ll never forget it. I said, “Look we live in a primarily, it’s a 85-90% Hispanic area. In order for us to reach people, our strategy, we need to reach people who actually live here. And we need to be open. We have seven people and they’re all white, we need to be open to some Hispanics.
Kevin Ezell: And my one deacon said, “Well we’re gonna need to take some time to pray about that.” I mean, I couldn’t believe you need to pray about that. So he wanted to take two weeks to pray about it. They came back after two weeks and said okay I think you’re right perhaps we need to open our arms to everyone. That’s a whole different.
Kevin Ezell: Obviously that was a big challenge just to get people to be willing to be willing, you know. So what would be you think, what would you say to a pastor about how to overcome challenges to create or implement evangelism strategy? Cause we’d like to think every member is for it, but they’re not all for these new people coming in to a church or they don’t have the gospel as a priority.
Johnny Hunt: Yeah our pastors have to realize that Sandbalad, Tobia and Gesham and they all joined the Baptist Church. So they’re here with us, we’re going to have opposition. So honestly, expect opposition. This is hard for people to believe now with my ministry at Woodstock. There was a long business conference a few weeks before I became pastor and they were talking about how they had removed to pastor before me because he was not concerned about the lostness of a community.
Johnny Hunt: The very same person who had made the motion to dismiss him tried to rally troops together several into my ministry, they wanted to remove me because all I cared about was the lostness. So I wasn’t caring about them.
Johnny Hunt: Vance Hafner used to say that you’ll make up your mind early in your ministry whether you’re gonna be a keeper of the aquarium or fisher of men.
Johnny Hunt: So when we begin to fish, sometimes people begin to say we don’t care about the ones that are here. I’ve found that it’s easier to find people to care for the ones that you have than it is to get someone to go out and engage those that have never known the gospel. So I’ve found that it’ll work itself out. But you’ve got to have the spiritual tenacity, you’re gonna have to stay on your knees, stay humble. You’re gonna have to realize that you never have the luxury of being unkind.
Johnny Hunt: So I spend very little time back dealing and trying to win arguments with my opposition. Take Nehemiah again. Nehemiah, this is so awesome, is in the Valley of Ono and they’re working on the wall. Sandball and Gesham and others come and try to get him to come down off the wall. And David Jeremiah put it like this, said he’s in the Valley of Ono and they said, “Come down off the wall and he said Oh No.”
Johnny Hunt: And he said I cannot come down we’re doing a great work. We’ve got to focus. Our focus has got to be, I’m doing a great work. I can’t deal with this opposition. And then it has a lot to do with your personal relationship and devotion with Jesus Christ.
Johnny Hunt: When I’m up and on my knees in the morning asking God to keep me focused, what a difference it’ll make.
Johnny Hunt: For instance, just a couple weeks ago, I’m headed for a deacon prayer time just before my first morning worship. A gentleman confronts me in the hall and says, “I was hoping I’d run into you.” And he was angry. He said, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you.”
Johnny Hunt: Very graciously and as kindly as I know how, I said, “David I don’t pick bones before preaching. See me after my last worship service.” I’ve never seen, he never came to see me. It was just something he was hot about then. So I think the reason I was able to deter that meeting is because of my devotion and prayer life that morning. Getting up and staying focused.
Johnny Hunt: So if you choose to be one that helps push back darkness and be used of God, expect opposition and stay on you’re knees, pray God fill you with the spirit of God, but yet clothe you in humility so you’ll always respond right. But you really can work through those, but never go in to trying to make a difference in winning lost people that you don’t expect spiritual warfare.
Kevin Ezell: Exactly. And just trying to create a whole new DNA in your church. I know one of my churches. We were just trying to help people, even on Sunday to realize look we are trying to set up an environment where we’re gonna worship God. We are trying to share the gospel and make the environment welcoming.
Kevin Ezell: I remember having a deacon come up between services and said, “Hey pastor we got a problem, we got a big problem.”
Kevin Ezell: I said, “What’s the big problem?” He goes, “Don’t look now, don’t look now. But in the back left of the auditorium there’s a guy back there with a hat on.” I said, “You’re kidding me?” He goes, “No what are you gonna do about it?”
Kevin Ezell: I said, “Well is it your hat?” And he goes, “No.” I said, “Well then leave it alone.” And then what happened, sure enough. In the invitation, here comes, who comes walking down the aisle but the guy in the hat. And there was tears in his eyes, I put my hand in his and looked him in the eye and said, “Take your hat off.” I didn’t say that. The hat’s all beside the point. Sometimes we get so worked about what somebody has on or and we just we forget the most important thing is to see people come to know Christ.
Johnny Hunt: And you know when you really begin to show a community that you care, it’s amazing who shows up that’s probably never been before. When you said that my mind immediately went to all these young people because a lot of their friends were getting saved came and they were all there with like flip flops on and shorts and again somebody came to me and said do you see how those kids are dressed.
Johnny Hunt: And I thought, and here’s what I really said to them, I said, “You know gosh I wouldn’t have even noticed except you brought it up. But let me tell you what I did notice. I noticed they’re here. I am so elated. We have been trying to get those kids here.”
Johnny Hunt: But you have to change that. And so if they come after you I don’t really see that as a battle I have to fight. And maybe some questions I have to answer, but I believe this is one of the times that I just believe the Lord’s gonna do battle for me. But again it doesn’t give me the right to be ugly or unkind. So I want to stay positive, encouraging.
Johnny Hunt: Because you’re in a process, you’re on a journey. Jerry Falwell used to say to me, it’s interesting he said, “When you are doing evangelism it’s like you can never take your hands off the helm of the ship.” He said, “There’s sometimes you can take off the helm and it’s different ministries and it’ll sail just as straight as ever.” He said, “But in evangelism it’ll always go south if you take your hands off the helm.”
Kevin Ezell: Exact, well he’s definitely a leader and a leader in evangelism. Brother Johnny, what would you say to a pastor in developing an evangelism strategy? What’s just a simple process that a pastor can follow?
Johnny Hunt: You know sometimes when I’m teaching evangelistically something on passion and outreach, I may just say to the people, “Hey tonight or Wednesday night or whenever. I’m just gonna lay out what it looks like. Those of you that are really wanting to be more effective and efficient and proficient in sharing the gospel with your family, if you’ll come.”
Johnny Hunt: And then when they come, again it doesn’t matter what tools we use but I may actually teach them the Roman road. I may reach back and grab the Four Spiritual Law. Show them the Three Circle. I actually bought thousands of the Evangelistic Bible, in other words the New Testament that shares the gospel that actually tells you in the front what page to turn to, what verse to read and at the bottom tells you what question to ask and then where to go next.
Johnny Hunt: So we put every tool in their hand that we could but knowing that what had to happen first of all, and we trusting that it had already happened, that God had stirred their heart and given them a passion to want to share the gospel.
Kevin Ezell: Exactly.
Johnny Hunt: So we can give them a strategy, give them a way forward in making the gospel known.
Kevin Ezell: The most important thing is just take the next step. Pastor have a strategy.
Kevin Ezell: If you have any more questions on creating an evangelism strategy or any questions pertaining to evangelism period, email us at email@example.com and we will try to answer those questions on a future podcast. So thank you for joining us today for Evangelism with Brother Johnny and Brother Johnny thank you for your insight, for your example and the way you invest in leading young leaders.
Johnny Hunt: I so desire that a pastor’s vision become his mission, his strategies, and his goals become a reality.
Kevin Ezell: Right. Well Brother Johnny I’m so grateful you have the experience, I just hope one day you have the passion. And so hey thank you for investing that not only in me, but many, many pastors out there. We’re grateful for you.
Johnny Hunt: Thanks.