I am amazed at how many pastoral staff members in local churches are woefully inactive at personally sharing their faith or even explaining the gospel.
How does one help their staff or volunteers to increase the number of spiritual conversations they get into in a normal week of ministry?
The place for a leader to start is prayer. Pray specifically for your team members to be active in sharing their faith. Paul prayed for Philemon when he wrote, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 1:6).
The second place would be to raise the faith level of your team by raising the expectations. One of the aspects of being a great team leader it to raise the expectations of the team. If you are as a leader are serious in increasing the spiritual conversations throughout your ministry then you are going to have to raise the expectations of your team.
What would happen if each of your team members engaged in at least two spiritual conversations a week? That would be over 100 spiritual conversations a year.
The third place would be to show them the opportunities right around them. A pastor friend of my was leading a small group and after about six months he walked them through the Spiritual Journey Guide by asking everyone the simple question, “Where are you right now on your spiritual journey?” To his amazement nearly half the group identified themselves as spiritual seekers and not followers of Jesus. Assumptions kill evangelism! Because a person attends church or is connected relationally to a community of faith unfortunately has little to do with that person’s understanding of the gospel.
When coaching pastors in evangelism I encourage them to first look at the fringe people of their church. They are always amazed at the receptivity of these people who have attended their church in the last year or infrequently for years, to a phone call, personal visit or an invitation to a small group designed for them. How many receptive people are there on the fringes of your ministry?
Jim Elliot said, “Work where God is working. Don’t hammer at unprepared soil when there is ready ground nearby.”
- Start praying for your staff as Paul did you Philemon.
- At every staff meeting ask the question: Who did you draw into a spiritual conversation this last week?
- Start identifying and praying for those on the fringe of your ministry.