People with the gift of evangelism often feel like lone rangers. They have a passion to win the lost and are bold to proclaim the gospel, but many Christians avoid participating with them. What are some ways an evangelist can help build a mission mindset at their congregation without getting frustrated?
Evangelism is scary and intimidating for many faithful Christians. Pastors and church members with a zeal to reach the lost, often find themselves alone in their efforts. That can be disheartening, especially since evangelism requires great energy. For pastors, the effort of reaching out to prospects or following up with visitors can easily fall down the to-do list with the daily activities of shepherding a congregation.
Here are three suggestions to help build upon or create an evangelism culture that focuses on verbally proclaiming the gospel in your community.
- It’s all about the gospel.
How often we forget that evangelism is far more about God than about ourselves. In our impatience to see results for our efforts, we constantly need to go back to the gospel and God’s promises that his Word works.
The gospel is the fuel that inspires and motivates all believers to be God’s messengers. Guilt plays no part in prompting Christians to rescue lost souls. “When Christians truly grasp the depth of their sin, the wonderful holiness of God, the perfection of Christ and the depth of his suffering for them, the power of his resurrection and the gift of eternal life for all who repent and believe, our affections for Christ will grow.” (Mike McKinley) The gospel is a treasure that is appreciated, preserved, and shared with others. With a sense of awe in what Christ has already done for this world, our lips naturally pour forth the clarity of his work that comes from a heart resonating with joy and thanksgiving. Evangelism no longer becomes a sense of duty or a means to earn God’s love or approval. Instead, fully assured of our forgiveness, certain of our redemption in Christ, justified by faith alone, and free from an overwhelming concern about what others may think of us, we speak the gospel.
Those with the gift of evangelism can help create a mission mind-set by reminding members to embrace the gospel and its promises. It is the gospel that empowers believers to share the gospel with others.
- Trust the power of prayer
Evangelism is hard work. Efforts may appear fruitless. It’s not only physically tiresome, but emotionally draining and spiritually taxing. Prayer becomes an essential component to evangelism and it starts with confession.
We can begin by confessing to God our fatigue and excuses. We confess to God all the times we have blown it when proclaiming the gospel to others. We confess to God the numerous times when we have wasted divine opportunities to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ and remained silent. We confess to God that our words and actions are insufficient, but only his words and actions through us are effective to work faith in the hearts of those who are dead in sin. We boldly ask the Lord to provide opportunities to be his witnesses.
Those with the gift of evangelism can make individual requests for members at church to pray for those souls who recently heard a gospel message for whom we have planted the gospel seeds. Share those stories with them. Ask them to pray for divine opportunities. Assure them that God often uses the ordinary to do something extraordinary – especially when it comes to proclaiming the gospel to others. Prayer helps prepare our hearts and minds to be God’s messengers.
#3 Patiently and lovingly equip members on what to say
A love for the gospel and a desire to fulfill the great commission may not be enough. There is something to the message of the gospel that can feel intimidating. Faithful members will need training on what to say. They will need to build confidence and be assured of their role and responsibility in evangelism.
In evangelism, Christians often place too much pressure on themselves. It is solely God’s business to bring unbelievers to faith. It is a Christian’s business to deliver the message. Building a mission mind set means believers ought to mind their own business. The power of conversion rests in Jesus’ words, because he is the Word.
Those with the gift of evangelism can thoughtfully invite members to go with them when they proclaim the gospel. Pastors can model a way to share the gospel by addressing unbelievers in their sermons. Organize a special event at your congregation where the gospel will be shared in a loving, respectful way and provide an opportunity where members can invite their friends to attend. This would not be a regular worship service, but something unique for members of your community.
Building a mission mind-set at a congregation takes hold when members are comfortably and confidently proclaiming the gospel in their community. “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:23) The greatest blessing is participating in one of the greatest exercises of our faith – and the privilege of being used by God to advance his kingdom on earth through the power of his Word.