Reese’s research in Unbinding the Gospel found that many pastors have no personal experience with evangelism (Reese, 9).
The footnote explains that 10 out of 60 denominational seminaries in mainline denominations require even half a course in evangelism for graduation. The other half of the course is often paired with stewardship (p. 22).
Chapter 8 of her book is full of ideas for pastors (Order your copy of Unbinding the Gospel).
As the pastor or church leader, your role in your church’s evangelism efforts is crucial. In fact, for your church to keep it’s evangelistic temperature high, you have the key role in fanning the flame.
Pastor, how is your evangelistic passion? Do you find that you are so drained with your other responsibilities that personal evangelism has fallen by the wayside?
5 personal evangelism Tips for pastors.
1. Talk about Christ with at least one person weekly
Many pastors are overloaded with other church responsibilities, that evangelism gets set aside. However, a true evangelist’s heart is bent toward lost souls.
Make it your personal goal each week to share a spiritual conversation with someone outside the church.
You might get to plant a seed, water a seed, or perhaps harvest a seed that has been prepared already like Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.
When I actively pastored a local congregation, these conversations fueled my preaching, my praying, and my passion.
2. Be visible.
As pastor, you are the primary leader of your outreach/evangelism program. You might not like that role, but you are in it. If you pastor a large (mega) church, you might have a designated staff person directing the program, but you are still the primary leader.
Keep up your personal involvement and visibility in the efforts of your church. The congregations needs to see their pastor winning others to Jesus Christ.
They need to see their pastor making visits to the unchurched, cultivating relationships with the unsaved, and establishing contacts with the lost. You need to be seen on the front lines of evangelism in your church.
The conversations that I had would often ooze out in a sermon, or small group discussions and other places.
3. Pray daily.
It’s likely that every pastor knows that we are to pray for the harvest. Many of us do in private. Prayer keeps our eyes on the harvest, our ears attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray regularly for those you know who do not know Christ.
As pastors, how often do our public prayers during worship services, leadership meetings, grace before the potluck supper, does your passion for the lost ooze out?
When people see you pray during services, leadership meetings, they will likely mimic that same passion for souls and increase their prayers.
I’ve been in enough prayer gatherings to know that parishioners will adopt the prayer “language” or phraseology of the pastor often with the same intensity that is modeled.
4. Expand your circle of influence.
Every pastor ought to keep a personal circle of influence with non-believers.
Dan Kimball moved some of his study time to a cafe, Perry Noble did the same. Easum’s research finds that pastors having conversations with people are a key part of their coming to faith (see How to Grow a Small Church).
Read: A pastor’s conversational encounter in a cafe. Get out of the office my friend and see who you run into.
Do you have a circle of friends you regularly interact with who haven’t yet found faith in Christ? If not, what are you going to do about it.
5. Respond to cries for help.
Be sensitive to benevolent needs that come your way. Be on guard the next time you conduct a funeral service and a distant family member of the deceased is in attendance at the funeral, having never heard gospel. Be aware of hospital visits where the opportunity to share with doctors, nurses, and attendants is abundant and often timely.
There are plenty of times when a pastor can notice these things and ask the Lord for guidance as to how and when to share the gospel. These are people that the Lord has brought to you, and you have a part to play in their coming to faith.
Do you have more personal evangelism tips for pastors?
I invite you to contribute your tips in the comments.