3. Create Evangelistic Opportunities
The third thing that evangelists should do is to create evangelistic opportunities for people. The Great Commission involves both “Go” (Matt.28:18-20) and “Come and see” (John 4:29). In other words, believers are to go and share their faith out in the world and they are to invite their friends to come and see the activity of God within the church community.
The church is not to be a castle surrounded by a moat to keep all of the unbelievers out. Each local church should create as many entry points and bridges as possible so that people can be encouraged to experience the life of Christ within the church community.
Our church does this in a variety of ways:
We ensure that each church meeting is sensitive to and relevant for those who are far from God. This does not mean that every meeting needs to have an evangelistic message or that we should stop doing things such as worship, prayer, or ministry. It simply means that we are always seeking to create an environment where new people feel welcomed and included. This includes things such as a special welcome for visitors during the meeting, an invitation to our visitor’s lounge, and occasional explanations of various components of the meeting so that a newcomer knows what is happening.
We ensure that special yearly events are opportunities for people to invite friends to church – e.g. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.
- We offer the ALPHA Course throughout the year, which is an excellent program for people to consider the claims of Christ in a safe friendly environment where they can interact with others and ask questions.
- All of our ministries have outreach-focused events throughout the year – small groups, youth, young adults, etc.
- We hold special IF ('invite a friend') events throughout the year that are specially designed for people to bring their friends along to an appropriate evangelistic meeting. We make use of music and drama as well as testimonies of changed lives.
- A few years ago we started a community outreach ministry. Our aim was to allow our programs to emerge in response to the greatest needs in our community. As a result, we now have a large ‘Op Shop’ supplying low cost clothing. We also have financial counselling and food parcels, as well as a fully qualified counselling centre where sixty percent of the counselees are from the local community. When a church adds value to its local community in this way it sows many seeds of love and kindness that often result in people coming to faith.
A while back, I interviewed a family who had all become Christians during the year. One of them, a young single woman, was invited to attend our midweek ALPHA course where she became a Christian. After attending our church for a while she invited her mother along, who responded to a message and came forward and gave her life to Christ. As a result of this, another daughter began to attend and over time her and her husband have found faith in Christ. This is how the gospel travels – through relationships and over a period of time.
Another couple in our community were having marriage problems. The wife came for counseling and began to receive help. As a result her husband came for counseling and their marriage was restored. She then invited him to our church where he became a Christian. A few months later, he invited his brother to a guest service we held and he made a commitment to Christ too.
It is vital that there is consistency of quality and approach with your various outreach events and activities. This helps people to develop confidence and trust that if they invite a friend they will not be disappointed or surprised by something they did not expect.
When a church becomes passionate about reaching people for Christ and then starts putting out all sorts of ‘nets’ into their community it’s amazing how God begins to work to draw people to himself. Evangelists must create as many evangelistic opportunities as possible.