“Evangelism was the prerogative and duty of every church member … The ordinary people of the first century church saw it as their job: Christianity was supremely a lay movement, spread by informal missionaries.” – Michael Green
We will not advance the gospel through the church without the serious training for every member in how to share the gospel winsomely and accurately. The Apostle Peter makes in very clear that every follower of Jesus must be prepared to articulate the hope they have experienced in Christ.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” I Peter 3:15
Here is a challenge for every church to embrace: Seek to train 1/3 of your church in evangelism this year.
In Win Arn’s ‘Church Growth Ratio Book‘, he states, “One of every three adults should receive evangelism training at least once a year.”
One of the gifts needed to build up the church is the gift of the evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12). In many churches the emphasis is on nurturing existing Christians and strengthening the faith of current members is a preoccupation. While this is important it is incomplete if your spiritual formation plan has no evangelism component. If this training lacks little focus on reproduction it will lead to an inward mentality that will puff up the church instead of building up the church. Churches that continually make it a goal to train a significant portion of the congregation in evangelism tend to be more outreach focused. If you have a church of 150 that means 50 people need to be trained in outreach. If you have a church of 1000 that means 333 people need to be trained. As your church grows bigger I believe that achieving this ratio gets harder and needs for more focused attention by leaders.
1. Develop a training rhythm that touches people weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.
- Weekly: by creating an investing, inviting and including culture.
- Monthly: by providing entry level immersion experiences (see the next post).
- Quarterly: by offering full day equipping opportunities.
- Annually: by offering Sunday morning/small group spiritual emphasis campaigns.
2. Start training trainers.
I have discovered that the faster I can get the training out of the professionals hands the quicker the lay leaders own the process.
- Which lay leaders can reinforce your investing, inviting and including culture?
- Which lay leaders can lead and promote your entry level experiences?
- Which lay leaders can be mentored in training others in sharing their faith?
- How many leaders can you engage in an annual spiritual emphasis campaign?
3. Focus on one tool that will mark your church.
When you think of Campus Crusade (CRU) what evangelism tool comes to mind? Four Spiritual Laws! When you think of Navigators? The Bridge! The Billy Graham Association? Steps to Peace with God! What do people think of when it comes to your church? Anything? Find a tool and work the tool. If you can’t find anything that fits your culture then create one. That’s what we did 25 years ago with the Spiritual Journey Guide…it shaped our church and is now shaping thousands of other churches.
- Keep track…how many people are you training a year?
- Identify the evangelism in your congregation.
- Find trainers…who can help you?
- Find a tool…what works for you and your church culture?