By Chris Stephens
Creating a culture of evangelism is one of the most difficult things a church can attempt. Evangelism goes against almost everything in our self-centered culture! Too many church members have become absolute consumers. Americans are the world’s greatest consumers of goods. This attitude has invaded far too many churches, as well. Some church members give their money and expect a certain amount of “goods and services” in return. It’s all about me.
Too many people enter church asking: “What’s in it more me?” This requires the pastor, staff and key volunteers to be totally committed to fighting this mindset. Jesus was clear: “Leave the 99 and go after the one.” One problem churches can face is that the 99 only care about the one, themselves. How can we be “comfortable” allowing anyone to fall headlong into hell?
I fully believe the most selfless thing a church can do is grow and reach the lost. To grow, people have to release and give up their pews, positions and power to make room for the people who have not yet attended. If a traditional church, that is plateaued, begins to grow, there can be a pioneer versus settler range war. The pioneers that built the church see it as their church and naturally hold on to it. Answer them by being ready–armed with the heart of Jesus for the lost and hell-bound.
Just a few ideas:
- Preach on hell with a broken heart not smiles and jokes.
- Tell every story of evangelism in the church.
- Make the church and its services more welcoming to the lost or wayward.
- Expect the lost to attend. Preach like they are there already. You get who you talk to!
- Pray for a burden for the lost to fall on the church members.
- Create a culture of inviting to special events designed for the lost or de-churched.
- Boost your first-impressions ministry (greeters, parking lot volunteers, kid’s ministry greeters, ushers, etc.) They must be welcoming, smiling, warmhearted saints who are glad to see new faces. No grumpy, non-smiling people. It is okay to move volunteers to another ministry.
- Make the worship services exciting and engaging. Nothing creates an inviting culture like exciting, Spirit-filled worship services.
Remember, the crowds always followed Jesus. If He is in the house they will tear the roof off to get in. To create a culture of evangelism, the church will have to become more about the lost and less about the already found. Leaders, you cannot create a culture of evangelism if you only pander to the people already there. You must lead with the fire of evangelism burning in your bones. Paul told Timothy: “Do the work of an evangelist.” This means all of us.
Chris Stephens is the Senior Pastor at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn.
Published May 30, 2018