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Building an evangelistic​ culture in the church

Evangelism is the responsibility of all believers. However, pastors and evangelists have the task of equipping, training, and mobilizing congregations to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). What does a strategic plan of evangelism look like for a local church? Does your church evangelism program include everyone? Does it build a culture of soul winning? The following is a strategic plan of evangelism applicable to all local churches:

Vocally: Evangelism is to be expressed verbally.

Any given Sunday pastors and teachers are privileged to speake to tens, hundreds, or thousands of believers regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. Use part of your public ministry to emphasize evangelistic efforts. Celebrate the recent experiences of church members who led someone to Christ. Even if no one accepted Christ, emphasize the obedience of the members who shared. Remember successful evangelism is not winning the lost but sharing the complete gospel message in the power of the Holy Spirit. The verbal expression of witnessing encounters demonstrates that evangelism is taking place. Sharing also reinforces the expectation that every member of the congregation is called to engage the lost with the gospel.

Visually: Evangelism is to be modeled openly.

Leaders often promote evangelism in the community surrounding the church or practice personal evangelism in the market place. However, many times leaders fail to practice what they preach. Make evangelism a priority in your own life and get involved in as many evangelism opportunities as the church has to offer. Leaders should not expect congregations to do what they have not already done. The visual demonstration of evangelism communicates to the congregation that the expectation to evangelize is expected of leadership as well. Additionally, develop a time to share the gospel in every ministry and event that includes visitors. The Congregation will soon see that evangelism is not only expressed verbally but demonstrated visually.

Viable: Evangelism is to be practiced entirely.

Some people complain that their church does not practice their type of evangelism. Don’t force everyone to use the same methods. Methods change. The key is to share the same gospel, not the same methods. Identify familiar methods and history of evangelism in the church. Encourage your people to engage the lost with the gospel in various ways and formats. Do not limit your approach to one method. Instead, cheer your church on in the practice of evangelism. Encourage some to evangelize at events held by the church, others on their jobs and in public, and others through existing relationships. The key is that the body is fulling engaged in evangelism by using different places and platforms to share.

An effective evangelistic plan requires clear implementation and consistency. Consider holding monthly or quarterly meetings to encourage ongoing evangelistic encounters. Regularly provide training and encouragement on how to evangelize. Be sure to answer objections and encourage your church to overcome fear. This is not an exhaustive list. However, by focusing on these three areas you will take huge steps in helping your church develop a culture of evangelism.

Dr. Carl Bradford

Dr. Bradford serves as Assistant Professor of Evangelism and teaches evangelism and church planting in the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. His previous church ministry includes serving as youth pastor, associate pastor of evangelism, pastor of Christian education and outreach, and church planter. He desires to create a biblical foundation and evangelistic zeal in present and future pastors, missionaries, and lay leaders. His dissertation, Schooling the Gospel: An Investigation of British and German Schools of Kerygmatic Interpretation in the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries, examines the way New Testament Scholarship has investigated the kerygma (preaching) of the early church. He is married to Andrea and together they have two children, Carl Jr. and Abigail. Dr. Bradford and his family are members of First Baptist Mansfield, Mansfield, TX. He enjoys preaching and leading evangelism workshops.