The Year of Evangelism – An Evangelism Strategy

In prior years, I’ve suggested a few personal strategies for evangelism

Year Of EvangelismThis year, I want to map out something different and suggest some planning ideas for church level evangelism.

Some of my readers have been doing some planning for this coming year and are developing a some kind of focus

  • The Year for Evangelism
  • Evangelism Focus for 2010

Other churches may have another theme for the new year like: “The Year of Breakthrough” “The Year for Prosperity” or “The Year of Jubliee.”

If you are developing an evangelism theme or some kind this year, what is your strategy?

What is the measurable evangelism goal?

As you develop your plan for this year, ask yourself the question:

“What does done look like?”

So many churches want to have a focus on evangelism, but do not define the specific goal that says “we did it.”

  • Do you want 10 adult conversions?
  • Do you want to read 10 books?
  • Do you want to launch a food pantry and teach your volunteers how to share the gospel while sharing food?
  • Do you want to have 10 people trained in personal evangelism skills?
  • Do you want to . . . . . ?

In other words, what does done look like?

Should we focus on numbers?

I can quickly hear an objection: “We don’t need to focus on numbers, this is ministry.”

I agree with that 100%.   But defining numbers give us project definition.

This gives us goals for prayer, and unfolds plans for ministries.

Target numbers are not the end-all, but rather a direction in which to aim.

A church of under 50 members (a survey of my readership in December 2009 showed that nearly 25% of my readership is involved in churches under 75 members) may not have a realistic goal if they want to add 100 new members through profession of faith in the coming year.

Coaching Example

I recently coached a small church pastor as he was brainstorming  about “The Year for Evangelism” for their church.

We are clarifying my role as a evangelism consultant and help them develop their evangelism strategy for their 19 member country church.

I kept asking him, what does successful evangelism look like for your church at the end of 2010?

The ideas started spinning:

  • 10 for 2010 — 10 baptisms upon profession of faith
  • Launch a Greeter Ministry
  • Run a Personal Evangelism training course.
  • Preach an Evangelism Sermon Series.
  • Run 3 evangelistic small groups.
  • Have 4 community based servant evangelism projects.

The ideas started flowing once the pastor landed on the realistic goal of 10 new members through profession of faith.

These projects are all interconnected, but flow from the idea of how to reach 10 new believers.

In their context, 10 more adult believers would be a 50% growth, a near doubling of their church.  The number 10 seems realistic (5-7 households?)

Develop your church’s Plan for the Year of Evangelism

I don’t want to develop your plan for you.

You and your church need to prayerfully develop your own plan based on your own context and God’s calling for your church.

Part of coaching is helping your brainstorm process and ask the questions.

But I think some common prongs for developing an evangelism theme for the year would include

  • Evangelism sermon series
  • Evangelism skills training
  • Evangelistic programming, like an Alpha Course or street campaigns, or servant evangelism
  • Evangelism training groups (see an example: Evangelism Training in the Local Church)
  • Corporate evangelism outreaches
  • The supporting ministries of Hospitality and Visitor connections

What each of those looks like will be specific to your context and the leading of the Lord you discern in prayer.

Where do you start?

Let me suggest this.

If you haven’t already done so, carve out some time where your leadership will pray about the year of evangelism.

Ask God:

  • What does the year of evangelism look like for your church?
  • What is God calling your church to do to express the expansion of the kingdom of God in your particular locale?
  • What particular programmatic expressions is God calling your church to do?

What does the your Evangelism strategy look like for your congregation?  Share with us in the comments below.

If you would like some coaching help, I’d be happy to provide that service.  See our teleconferencing services section for more information.

Image Credit: sdacaricatures

Operation Andrew / Bring a Friend Sunday

Evangelism Coaching GroupI had a follower on twitter who ordered a “Bring a Friend campaign in a box.”

It was a laughable experience.

It ultimately failed.

He felt like he wasted his money.

Originally designed in the 1980s, it has never updated (except moving the recordings to CD from the cassettes).

The campaign failed to rally the church. The materials involved were dated, cheesy and downright tacky (including the Bring a Friend Tie Pins!).

It was embarrassing and a waste of money.

The idea of Bring a Friend Sunday still works, but you can skip the 80s marketing material.

Operation Andrew:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association provides a simpler plan and excellent brochures that you can use.

They call it Operation Andrew.  Youth Versions are available.

Operation Andrew is a classic bring a friend church growth strategy based on John 1:40-45

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee.

Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Operation Andrew works by tapping Social Networks

John had spoken to his friend Andrew.

Andrew spoke with his brother Simon.

Jesus found Phillip and Phillip connected with a friend, Nathanael.

In this example, there is not a whole lot of cold-turkey door-knocking evangelism happening.

Rather a spread of the good news through existing social networks: among friends and family.

This has been translated into a strategy some call the Billy Graham Association calls Operation Andrew.

Basic Strategy of Operation Andrew

This is a variant of some of the Bring a Friend campaigns.

The basic steps over 6 weeks are as follows:

  • Pass out Operation Andrew cards or brochures six weeks prior, and walk through the steps together as a congregation.
  • Pray and ask the congregation to write names on their Operation Andrew cards of friends, family, or neighbors who are lost.
  • In the following weeks, hold a congregational prayer time for the people listed on cards.
  • Ask God for opportunities to invite people to “Bring a Friend” Sunday.
  • Use a simple prayer: “Open my eyes, open their hearts, open my mouth.”
  • Use a variety of ways to remind people frequently to pray for those on their lists.
  • On “Bring a Friend” Sunday, share the opportunities in your church that are easy for new people to connect. These opportunities should be about building relationships, not promoting church membership.
  • Present the Gospel clearly on “Bring a Friend” Sunday, and give people a chance to respond.
  • Hold another event soon after “Bring a Friend” Sunday such as a Question and Answer dinner, a time to meet the pastor and staff, or a musical night.
  • Make sure that opportunities are available in the subsequent weeks for follow-up and discipleship.

5 Principles of Operation Andrew

From the BGEA website:

Look Around where you live, work, or go to school—this is your mission field. Make a list of names of individuals you know who need Jesus Christ, and commit to pray for the people on your list regularly.

Look Up because God changes people through prayer. Pray each day for those on your list, that God will give you opportunities to share His love with them.

Look Out for ways to cultivate friendships with each person on your list. Spend time with them. An invitation to dinner or a sporting event will build friendships, which can open the way to talk about Christ. Remember: don’t preach. Listen and be a good friend.

Look Forward and begin to talk with each person on your list about watching a television program or a Billy Graham TV Special, going to the Billy Graham Library, reading a book, going to church, or attending an event such as a Crusade or Festival with you. Choose a specific date, pray, and invite them.

Look After those who respond to Christ or even begin to show interest in the Gospel, for they need your encouragement. Continue to love and pray for those who do not respond.

Operation Andrew brochures and training materials are available online from the BGEA.

Image credit: sellingpix / 123RF Stock Photo

God’s Plan for Sharing — A Church Vision for Outreach

The North American Mission Board is developing a new evangelism initiative to fulfill their 2020 vision of “Every Believer Sharing, Every Person Hearing.”

“God’s Plan for Sharing” is meant to encourage Christians to prayerfully and thoughtfully engage in the most effective approach for making Christ known.

GPS lays out four biblical mileposts to lead your church outward with the gospel in the discipline of evangelism.

1. PRAYING: Every church praying for every lost person.
(Evaluation – How can your church actively pray for lost people?)

2. ENGAGING: Every believer sharing as a trained witness.
(Evaluation – How many believers are trained to share their faith?)

3. SOWING: Every lost person receiving a complete witness.
(Evaluation – How is your church creating intentional opportunities to share the gospel?)

4. HARVESTING: Every church harvesting and celebrating every salvation experience.
(Evaluation – Are people finding Christ through the ministries of your church? Are you celebrating that growth?)

(HT: Ed Stetzer)

When you visit the main page, there are resrouce pages for each of the four initiatives listed above.  Here is a sample from the one on prayer:

Here are some ideas to get your church praying for people in your community.

NAMB Resources for Prayer

  1. Prepare God’s people (your congregation) to faithfully pray. Here are some helpful resources.
    • Experienceing God – Henry Blackaby
    • How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life – Greg Frizzell
    • Returning to Holiness – Greg Frizzell
    • Prayer 101 – Elaine Helms
    • Pray in Faith – T.W. Hunt
    • Kingdom Focus Praying – John Franklin
    • Cooperate – Role of Prayer in Spiritual Awakening
    • And the Place Was Shaken – John Franklin
    • If My People…Pray (How to Develop a Local Church Prayer Ministry) – Elaine Helms
  2. Mobilize your church to prayer walk your community. Here are some helpful resources.
    • Taking Prayer to the Streets – NAMB
    • Prayer Walking Made Simple – Chris Schofield
  3. Continually discover your community and examine their needs. Here are some helpful resources.
    • Mapping Center and Center for Missional Research, both found at
    • Witness to the World (Growing Disciples Series) – Claude King
  4. Pray for the people in your community. Here are some helpful resources.
    • Personal Prayer:
      • Study Guide for Evangelism Prayer – Evelyn Christenson
      • Praying Your Friends to Christ – NAMB
      • How to Spend a Day in Prayer – Rick Shepherd
    • Partner prayer (triplets/small groups)
      • Pray for Your Family – NAMB
      • Prayer Triplets – NAMB
    • Prayer gatherings/sacred assembly
      • And the Place Was Shaken – John Franklin
      • Returning to Holiness – Greg Frizzell
  5. Praise God continually.
    • Corporate praise
    • Celebrate baptisms
    • Answered prayer testimonies (live or video)
    • Prayer walk testimonies (live or video)

Small Church Transformation


The first edition of Turnaround and Beyond: A Hopeful Future for the Small Membership Church was released in 1995 and was re-released and updated in December 2008.

In the study Ron sought to explore strategies that enabled struggling and often run down small churches to experience lasting turnaround.

“Turnaround” has gone by various terms in the past

  • church revitalization
  • church transformation
  • church renewal
  • church survival
  • church turnaround

In the 1980s, church growth studies assumed or believed that sustained growth would last about 25 to 30 years and then plateau and decline unless a new cycle of church growth began with intention to reach new people.

Due to rapid acceleration of society and the new challenges of financial survival, that cycle has shortened considerably.  Some think 10 years, others think 3-5 years.  In either case, there are plenty of smaller churches that need to experience a fresh cycle of growth.

This chart of a church life cycle may be familiar to you:

Cycle of Church Growth(Source: Life Cycle of a Congregation, Alban Institute)

Churches have a typical pattern of church growth and church decline that progresses one stage at a time.  The study goes on to show how movement between stages are marked by cycles of rising to the new challenges in front and dying to the old ways.  Even in the decline side of the picture, the new challenges rising up are perceived as insurmountable and the risk taking liberties once valued in the past are dying off as risk is managed and even over controlled.


(Source: Life Cycle of a Congregation, Alban Institute)

The question that Ron Crandall seeks to answer in his book is how do churches that are on the decline side jump start a new cycle that help a small church arrest it’s decline and experience a new wave of transformation that “resets the clock” and starts a new wave of church growth.

Tomorrow’s post will be the first in a series exploring this.  To get the series automatically delivered to you

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Free Online Evangelism Training Webinar

Turnaround and BeyondI’ve asked Ron to join me in a Free Church Transformation Webinar on February 26 2009, 4pm.

Though he identified many characteristics of successful church transformation, the Church Transformation Webinar will focus on the priority of evangelism.

Order your copy of Turnaround and Beyond: A Hopeful Future for the Small Membership Church Direct from Amazon.

Live the calling of Evangelist

During January, I received a series of questions via Ask Evangelism Coach

Because of travel engagements in 3 different countries during January, I’m just now responding (though I’ve been thinking about these for a while)

A series of posts this week will focus on sharing these.  It’s my hope that our readers will join in the conversation.

The question for today:

I know God called me as an evangelist.

I have no personal evangelism plan and feel a need for one .

I also like to know more how an evangelist lives his calling

telling_the_storyLet me begin by referring you to

Telling the Story: Evangelism for the Next Generation, by Luis Palau, Timothy Robnett.

They answer your question in depth.

As I read your question, I see that you have two in there.

One regarding a strategy, and the second about developing your calling.

Develop an Evangelism Strategy

I’ve written about this before in Do you have a Strategy for 2009?  There you will find additional links about developing a plan.

Other plans for your development might include a

  • Develop an Evangelism Prayer List,
  • Develop a reading plan of evangelism books.
  • Find and attend evangelism conferences.
  • Use Facebook groups for evangelists (search for them).
  • Learn how to use gospel scripts when God has opened the door.
  • Learn how to recognize the working of the Holy Spirit.
  • Shameless plug: grab my Evangelism newsletter to stay informed about free online evangelism training events and exclusive tips.

Living Your Calling as an Evangelist

In Chapter 3 of Telling the Story: Evangelism for the Next Generation, Luis Palau writes about how an evangelist can begin to live out his calling.

I’ll simply put forth the summary.

Order your copy of Telling the Story: Evangelism for the Next Generation to read the whole thing.

  • Dream great dreams (i.e, develop a giant faith, goals)
  • Plan great plans (i.e. what is your ministry’s vision, strategy)
  • Pray great prayers (i.e., the faith to ask)
  • Obey great commands (i.e., go and fulfill)