3 Ways Your Church Can Cultivate Creative Individual Evangelism
Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 82
In our Strategic Planning work with churches, we always start at the same place, the Great Commission. It is the central mission of the Church for all time. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20
It is important for church leadership teams to remember and understand our Great Commission mission. However, it is also important for them to understand that the Great Commission is not only for “the church”, or the pastor, or the leaders. God gave this commission to all believers. Our faith walk has been compared to a team sport, a relay, and also a personal journey, and all of those comparisons are true. But, the single most effective form of evangelism is simply living out a Christ-transformed life and telling other people your story about how you came to know Him.
My friend, Dustin Orem, has been doing that for years now, so I asked him to join me on this week’s episode of The Church Revitalization Podcast. Dustin is the Action Sports Chaplain with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He’s on fire for bringing the Gospel to skateparks and events all over the world and serving people with the love of Christ everywhere he goes.
We talked through 3 ways that churches can cultivate creative individual evangelism among their congregations.
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Help Them Know Their Role in Evangelism
Each week, churches are filled with people who are all in on Sunday and love the application points from the sermon, but they don’t translate into everyday life. I attribute this mostly to our hurried culture, and busyness of life. People are stressed and active. Once they leave church, they shift back into “real life” mode, and the cycle continues week after week. How can we break this cycle? We may not need to. Life change in the form of less busy and stressed may be needed for many, but for everyone, that might not be the most effective course of action. Churches go for that angle often though, attempting to “help” people realign their life and time. What if, instead, we could integrate a life of evangelism into whatever they are already doing?
That begins by helping people understand how God made them and how they can play an active role in His divine plan. Start with a spiritual gifts assessment. For me, that was one of several significant points in my life in ministry.
However, it also created some frustration. I wasn’t mature enough to understand all the questions and “Christianeze” language in the assessment. That brings me to the next step – have someone come alongside the individual to unpack the results. It is also helpful to couple this with personality assessments such as the DiSC, Myers-Briggs, or Enneagram.
Armed with this new information, most people are left asking, “What’s next?”
Train Them up for Evangelism
People don’t need you to teach them how to go about their normal daily lives, but they do need to know how to easily integrate a new aspect. That’s where some basic, understandable evangelism training can be helpful. The most common barrier to people sharing their faith is simply not being confident enough to bring it up. They fear questions they won’t be able to answer or bible verses they won’t be able to recall. We don’t need to teach everyone to be street-corner evangelists, door-knockers, and apologists. It will be more effective to teach them to integrate and live their faith in more noticeable and public ways.
There are some great tips to learn about noticing Gospel opportunities and conversation starters which are good to know, but at the very least, people just need to get comfortable talking about their own story. Whether you invest in something more formal or not, at least develop a system in your church to help people be themselves – their whole, Christ-formed selves.
Encourage Them to Evangelize
The first two points above are about helping the congregation change, but this final point is about leadership change. A church leader should know every person in the church at some level. This may be a small group leader, Sunday school teacher, ministry director, pastor, or someone else. The job of every leader at every level is to know the people they connect with. That includes discovering how they fit into church ministries and what they can do in the world on their own.
Look for Opportunities
Dustin’s entry point into his BMX and action sports ministry was when his pastor asked him to build some ramps and perform some stunts for an upcoming church outreach event. How did his pastor know that was an option? He knew Dustin, and his passion and talent. And he saw an opportunity for an intersection between how God made Dustin and making the Gospel known.
This kind of encouragement can happen in a more passive way as well. A sure-fire way to get people murmuring during church (in a good way) is to have someone come up and talk about what God is doing in them and through them. People love examples of how God has called others into their own life-integrated ministry. You never know who’s story might be the catalyst for another person’s entry into God’s grand plan.
Here at TMG our team has talked with scores of churches. Many have expressed that Covid has made it nearly impossible to do outreach. There may be an element of truth, in that Covid has restricted churches from doing outreach in the same ways they had been doing it. However, there is no excuse for not doing anything. Helping our people live out their God-created lives is a Covid-proof way of furthering the Gospel reach of your church.
Bonus Idea: Evangelistic events
In this episode, we focused on cultivating creative individual evangelism. In addition, I wanted to make you aware of something that may be possible in your area even during Covid restrictions.
The Stunt Dudes are a team of professional athletes that put on live action-sports shows, with a Gospel message. They partner with churches and schools all across North America. Many of the same members of The Stunt Dudes also travel internationally doing outreach events as Action Sports Outreach.
A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive. A.J. lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.