By Peter Meier | November 15, 2017
Here’s a secret of starting new: There is no secret sauce. But if there were a secret sauce, I can tell you what it would be – evangelism.
There simply is no shortcut when it comes to making new disciples and gathering new groups of disciples. The single most significant ingredient to all your efforts is evangelism.
The goal of church multiplication in any form is to introduce people to your good Friend, Jesus (evangelism) and to help them mature in their faith (discipleship). Evangelism and discipleship are the two key elements in planting and growing any church. There’s your secret sauce.
Evangelism doesn’t have to be rocket science. Recent research shows that simply doing something might be more effective than creating elaborate strategies. Churches who do something, in respect to evangelism, are much more effective than churches who don’t. The point is simple: Do Something.
Bringing someone to faith is the work of the Holy Spirit, but evangelism – that is, sharing the Good News or introducing someone to your Friend, Jesus – is a social phenomenon. It’s about relationships. It’s about connecting with pre-Christian friends, hanging out with not-yet Christ followers.
Be in Prayer
Recognize that you’re in the midst of spiritual battle. The Evil One wants to keep non-believers non-believing. The Evil One wants to keep his claim on the un-claimed. Satan wants to keep them unconnected. And he will do whatever it takes. The good news is that God wants them to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and He has not only provided for their salvation in Jesus, but He has also defeated the Evil One. Jesus promises to build His church (Matthew 16:18) and even the gates of hell won’t be able to keep the prisoners captive!
Pray for family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends by name. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives to prepare them to be open to your conversation. Pray for boldness and courage to use the opportunities God gives – not to force a conversation, but to use natural conversation among friends to share your Friend, Jesus, and the beauty and truth of the Gospel.
Love and Serve
In this way, your words of faith and your Christian confession will be proved genuine. Authentic love and acts of service are the best way to remove barriers and open the door to questions and conversation.
You can invite them to come to events or worship with you at your church, or simple to gather with other believers at work, or in your neighborhood. The Holidays present wonderful opportunities for this. Concerts, parties, worship services, home gatherings are great ways to introduce your friends to Jesus.
Have a Plan
Once someone is introduced to Jesus, what are the next steps along the path of discipleship? Will you start a Bible study with them? What materials will you use? How will you answer their questions? How will they learn basic Christianity? You can work this plan yourself, or better yet, work it together with others who are pouring on the secret sauce as part of your church’s plan to reach new people.
There is no “right way” or “best way” when it comes to strategies. Special events, flyers, social media, prayer walking, neighborhood Bible studies, sports leagues, door-to-door – all of these were identified by church planters as successful measures for reaching the unchurched in their communities. Use your imagination. What fits your personality and the community/people you are connecting with? Be intentional.
The point is simply to do something!
Questions for Discussion
1. Who are the pre-Christian or de-churched people you know, and for whom you could be praying? Have you written their names down on your prayer list?
2. What is God’s greatest desire? Read 1 Timothy 2:4; Luke 15. How does that affect your greatest desire?
3. The great evangelist, Dwight L. Moody once said, “I like the way I do evangelism better than the way you don’t do evangelism.” What did he mean? What does that say to you, to your church?
4. What sort of training or equipping would be most helpful for you or those you serve?
5. What is your intentional plan to introduce Jesus to your friend(s)?
Resources You Can Use
Joining Jesus on His Mission, Greg Finke, 2014. This book will alter the way you see your life as a follower of Jesus and take you beyond living your life for Jesus to living life with Jesus.
Joining Jesus – Show Me How, Greg Finke, 2017. Practical tool for everyday discipling so that you can prepare yourself and others to join Jesus on His mission.
God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally, Doug Pollack, 2009. How to engage in natural spiritual conversation.
Speaking of Jesus: the Art of Not-Evangelism, Carl Medearis, 2011. Keeping evangelism simple in words and life – its all about Jesus.
The God Questions: Exploring Life’s Great Questions About God, Hal Seed and Dan Grider, 2016. Brief, simple, and easy to understand answers to eight key questions everyone asks about Christianity. Includes a guide for use in Bible Studies.
Mission Moments is the e-newsletter sent by the Center for U.S. Missions to bring information and encouragement to all who desire to share God's great love in Jesus Christ with others. Permission is given to copy this article for distribution within your congregation or organization. Please credit the author and the Center for United States Missions. For more information contact the Center at (952)-221-0362, or visit our website: www.c4usm.org
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