June 19, 2012

Four ways pastors can encourage evangelism

by Jesse Johnson

If evangelism is a lifestyle, not an event (which I argue here and here), are there certain things that pastors can do encourage people to be faithful to their calling?

Here are four ways pastors can facilitate, encourage, and equip their people for evangelism:

1) Hand out free New Testaments to your congregation: Have the church purchase these, and hand one to everyone on a Sunday morning. Encourage them to hand them out to someone whom they know, but with whom they have been reluctant to share the Gospel. Encourage the people to personalize it in some way, such as marking their favorite passages or favorite chapter. Many non-believers who would not read a tract or be open to a church invitation, may very well respond to a gift such as a book, especially when the person giving it has put thought into what he is asking them to read.

2) Offer an evangelism training class in Sunday School or at home Bible studies: More mature believers can easily forget how intimidating evangelism can be. What should people say, how do they turn a conversation toward the Gospel, how do they (or should they) witness to their boss? These are questions many people in church have. A short class (at Grace Church it is 4 weeks) that trains people on the basics in evangelism is very useful in answering these questions, and creating a climate where evangelism is expected. We offer these classes on Sunday morning, as an alternative to Sunday school, as well as at many of our home Bible studies. Often, small group leaders are excited to take a break from their current study in order to do a short series on evangelism.

It is not necessary to even use a particular curriculum for these classes, although many good ones are available. If you have gifted teachers, perhaps just having them teach a series through evangelistic passages of Scripture might be effective.

3) Take advantage of Christmas/Easter programs your church already does: For many churches, the biggest evangelistic event of the year is their Christmas concert. Consider mailing tickets to  neighbors who live around the church, and encouraging members to invite friends. Have a brief Gospel presentation in the middle of the concert, which does not make the concert that much longer, but increases the church’s love of the concert dramatically. You’ll find that your people begin praying about who they are going to invite weeks in advance, and there will be a genuine excitement around the campus as it seems everyone is bringing non-believers to church that week.

4) Model through your lifestyle your priority of evangelism: Those that know Pastor MacArthur know of his love for evangelism. He models it from the pulpit by the way he earnestly proclaims the Gospel and offers salvation. He models it in his prayers by how he asks God to save others. He models it in his ecclesiology, by having the focus of the church be on the salvation of sinners. And he models it in his personal life, by witnessing to his neighbors, doctors, and those whom he comes in contact with. His love for evangelism is prevalent through our church, and is contagious.

These are four ideas that don’t demand significant financial investment, but could be used in your church to equip your people for the work of evangelism.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA.
  • Azekveld

    I like!!

  • Howard Brown

    Sometimes I find it easier to be courageous in the pulpit than with the guy two doors down. But we need to teach evangelism by precept and example. Fellow believers are helped to see me being wise and redeeming the time at the parts counter or the coffee shop. It is tempting to think that we have put the puck in the net and the game is over when we get out of the pulpit after preaching. Thanks for the reminder Jesse, especially point 4.

  • Howard Brown

    Sometimes I find it easier to be courageous in the pulpit than with the guy two doors down. But we need to teach evangelism by precept and example. Fellow believers are helped to see me being wise and redeeming the time at the parts counter or the coffee shop. It is tempting to think that we have put the puck in the net and the game is over when we get out of the pulpit after preaching. Thanks for the reminder Jesse, especially point 4.

  • Peter

    Hi Jesse,
    You said there are many good curriculum available for evangelism classes.  What are some curriculum’s that you would recommend?

    • Hindy9276

      WayoftheMaster.com

      • Hindy9276

        Way of the Master / Living Waters is the best evangelism I have ever found. The Basic Training video course is an eight week training that can be used in your Sunday School. I have been teaching it for about seven years. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron do a fantastic job walking you through the scary waters of evangelism. The best part is that the whole thing is completely Biblical. May I suggest listening to the sermon by Ray Comfot called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.” You will not be sorry.

  • Roger Naylor

    Jesse,
    Can you share the curriculum Grace uses for its 4-week class? Thanks.

    • Cummmike

      I would love to know how to get a copy of Grace’s curriculum as well