How can we increase our evangelistic opportunities and encourage others to share their faith?

Every month I attend a networking luncheon of like-minded pastors in my area. Over the years, it has proven to be a great time of fellowship and group learning. Each month, as we gather, we not only have a meal with one another but we discuss a particular topic in an effort to sharpen one another’s ministry. The last time we gathered our topic was evangelism. The question that guided our discussion was: How can we increase our evangelistic opportunities and encourage others to share their faith? Our group consists not only of seasoned pastors but church planters as well. As we discussed the question, helpful ideas came from both groups. Some of these are ideas I had thought about before, but others were new.

(1) Coach a team

Almost every city has an opportunity and need for little league coaches. Not only is coaching a great way to give back to your community, but it is an excellent way to get to know kids and parents in the area, who you might not otherwise run across.

(2) Be intentional about getting to know your neighbors and using your home

If we are honest, it’s easy to stay in our family bubble once we get home from a long, hard days work. For the most part, that is not a bad thing. We need to spend time with our family relaxing, but we can’t forget about the Great Commission. Instead of holding up in the house or playing in the backyard out of sight from our neighbors, we should try to move some of our activities to the front yard where we can more easily engage those who live next to us. Once we meet our neighbors, we should invite them over to hang out, watch the game, have dinner, or have their kids over to play with ours. Getting to know their name is only the beginning. If we want to impact their life for Christ, we have to spend time with them.

(3) Be a part of events in your community

One of the church planters in our group rents a space at the YMCA. His church intentionally attends, works, or hosts a booth at almost every event the Y holds. Being involved in these events has allowed them the opportunity to meet a much larger cross section of the community and impact people’s lives for Christ than they would have been able to do by hosting their own events. Besides the increased connection with non-believers, piggy-backing on an already planned event takes the load off organizing and hosting your own event, which gives you more time to focus on the connections you have forged, the people in your church, and your Sunday Service.

(4) Work at a club in your area

Another pastor in our group volunteers his time at the Boys and Girls Club near his house. Not only has he been able to get to know a number of the kids there, but he has also been able to connect with the Director, which has opened up other opportunities. His church has been able to host a VBS at the club and invite those who normally attend to participate.

(5) Be aware of the people God continually puts in your life

Every day we encounter others in our community. Sometimes we come across the same people regularly. When that happens, don’t think it is a coincide. Rather, recognize it for what it is – someone God has placed in your life that He wants you to get to know. So don’t let what seems like a coincidental encounter be wasted, get to know the person.

(6) Video testimonies

Having someone who recently came to Christ through your ministries evangelistic efforts share their testimony is a great way to encourage and spur those in your church to persevere at the task. I suggest videos because they can be edited for time and shown easily in a service and on social media.

(7) Record the number of last week’s gospel conversations in your bulletin

Another pastor in our group has begun to lead his church to talk to as many people about Christ as they can each week (as we all should!). In order to encourage his congregation to take every opportunity to spread the gospel, he quit recording last week’s tithe numbers in the bulletin and replaced them with the number of gospel presentations his members made that last week. Each Sunday he uses that number to either encourage his congregation to do more or keep up the good work.

Question for Reflection

  1. What are other ways to increase our evangelistic opportunities and encourage others to share their faith?

Resource

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Apologetics: A Reasonable Defense

Ask most church goers what it means to do apologetics and you will most likely be met with blank stares, an explanation about how we are to apologize to others, or tales of boredom as they tried sitting through a lecture or trudging through a book full of philosophical arguments. While the study of Apologetics can take you off into heady arguments, that’s not all Apologetics is.

Apologetics?

Apologetics simple means to offer a reasonable defense. At a minimum, that requires us to tell others what we believe and why we believe it.

Be Ready Always

As Christians we are called to do just that – offer a reasonable defense for our faith. Peter makes this clear when he says,

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Pe 3:15–16)

The context in which Peter gives his command wasn’t peaceful. Christians were living in exile, experiencing ostracism for their faith, and suffering persecution. Yet Peter tells them not to fear or cower, but to be ready to offer a reasonable defense for the hope within. Christians, then, in all walks of life, locales, and cultural climates must be ready to offer a defense of their faith.

Tied to Our Mission

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commands His disciples to go and make more disciples. In order to be obedient to Jesus’ command, we must be able to tell others what and why we believe what we believe, which means we must spend time preparing ourselves to offer a reasonable defense.

“When we become Christians, we do not leave our mind in the parking lot. We are called to think according to the Word of God, to seek the mind of Christ and an understanding of the things set forth in sacred Scripture.” – Burk Parsons

So if your neighbor notices you are a Christian and asks what you believe, you should not only be able to answer his or her question, but you should also be able to tell them why you believe it. Hearing that means many of us need to get busy learning what we believe and why.

Suggestions to Get You Started

The first place we have to start is with God’s Word. It is the foundation of our beliefs because it is the place where God reveals who He is, who we are, what He has done and is doing, and how we are to live. There are a variety of tools to help you read through the Bible. Here is a great list.

Next, I would suggest looking into the Theology and Biblical Theology books listed on my Book Recommendation page. These will give you both an overview of the biblical storyline and a deep understanding of the theology and doctrine of God’s Word.

Lastly, take a look at the New City Catechism. It is a quick way to build your doctrinal and theological knowledge.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you know what you believe and why?
  2. Are you ready to give a defense?
  3. How will you prepare yourself?

Resources

With Gentleness and Respect by Burk Parsons TableTalk Magazine January 2016, pg 2

An Apology for Apologetics by Stephen J. Nichols TableTalk Magazine January 2016, pg 6

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