One frustrating problem for small church pastors is leading a church that has no desire to share their faith. How does that pastor begin to change that and overcome the natural resistance to personal evangelism?
If a pastor had no training in personal evangelism (which is likely if the church is a mainline denomination), then how does a pastor lead evangelism when the pastor may have very little personal experience?
Books on personal evangelism cover all angles of evangelism work. What has been needed is a book that presents a plan of action for pastors who feel like they are without guidance in this area.
Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships is one such book. Its stated desire to present a two year plan of action that a pastor can lead to develop some evangelistic activity in the congregation.
This book presents a two year plan to help your nervous church members grow in some basic relational evangelism skills.
Lack skills or a plan?
If you have a church that is actively sharing Jesus in many ways, than this book is not quite for you. If you are
- Regularly sharing the gospel in your sermons
- Helping your members talk about their faith,
- Providing ongoing evangelism training
then this book is not quite for you. Your church already as an interest in personal evangelism and they are acting on it.
Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships is aimed at churches that lack a zeal for personal evangelism. It is aimed at churches where members are not comfortable talking about their faith at all. If your members can’t talk about God’s activity in their life now, then this book presents a plan to help change that.
I think this book would be aimed at:
- Small mainline churches that lack evangelism skills
- Mainline churches that have plateaued or are in decline.
The target audience is not necessarily a small church, but any church that lacks an evangelistic zeal. It is for pastors of mainline churches that need somewhere to start in developing the DNA of evangelism in the church. The authors regularly chime in with some Methodist quotes and values to inform their approach.
Section One centers on basic relational evangelism skills in this model.
- Servant evangelism leading to a church invitations.
- “God talk” in small groups – being able to talk about what God is doing in your life now.
- “God talk” in the worship setting – testimonies of God at work
- Inviting people to church where they can hear stories of God at work in ordinary people.
- Build relationships with unchurched people
- Set a goal of conversations, not conversions.
- Try to spend 8-10 hours a week in being with unchurched people.
- Includes chapters on how to talk with unchurched people.
- Prepare your church to receive people – improve your hospitality
This final step is absolutely important. Small churches and even larger churches need to fix their church hospitality on a regular basis. It is not helpful to have an evangelistic skill set, yet your church will not welcome the newcomers. In fact, excellent hospitality will increase the likelihood of a personal invitation to church.
Over all, the book presents a pretty good plan. It’ll take patience to implement, but at least Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships gives a pastor a sense of direction as to where to start. You might want to share copies with your leadership team.
Some useful quotes:
Evangelism becomes passive, waiting for them to come, being polite when they arrive, helping them to join our organization, and then trying to get them to come back if they quit attending worship or giving money.
This book is about helping people in our churches move past the fear of inviting or sharing faith with others and move toward an active, passionate missionary lifestyle.
Evangelism is about building authentic relationships with people we don’t know. This relationship might lead to a conversation, which might lead to an invitation to gather with a community of faith, which might lead to an authentic relationship with Christ.
When you have attended a group [editor note: where you are spending time in the community] for a year, ask yourself if you are seeing anyone become a part of the faith community as a result of your time investment in that group. If the answer is no, you need to evaluate your technique and/or whether it is the right group in which to invest your time.
Related Books oriented at Mainline Churches
- Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism (Real Life Evangelism Series) by Martha Reese
- Holy Conversation: Talking About God in Everyday Life, Richard Peace
- Outflow, Steve Sjogren and David Ping
- Growing an Engaged Church, Albert Winesman
- Turnaround and Beyond: A Hopeful Future for the Small Membership Church, Ron Crandall
Order your Copy
Order your copy of Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships from Amazon and they will pitch me a few nickels.