The church planter must spend a majority of their time in efforts of personal evangelism.
I found from my own experience that other things will often force their way in to distracting the church planter from this work:
- Leadership Development
- Administrative Details
- Counseling people
All of those other things are important, but a church planter must not let them block out the priority of personal evangelism.
1. Build relationships with people who are far from God.
A church planter needs to spend most of their time building intentional relationships with people who do not know Christ.
I’m working along side an organization that seeks to reach teenagers for Christ. I took a peek at their schedule, and they have blocked out 3 out of every 4 Saturdays to spend time at the public soccer fields getting to know kids from their community. There are other events along the way in their schedule where they will serve the community, but the bulk of their time is networking.
If you are planting a church, how much time are you spending with people who don’t know Jesus?
If you are church planting and raising up a new work, what can you do this week to further build new relationships?
Related Article: Spheres of Influence
2. Pray for open doors to spiritual conversations.
A church planter’s personal evangelism work is prayer and conversations. I’ve made a prayer list of people.
As I pray for them, I ask God to show me their spiritual thirst.
Sometimes, it seems that God tells me ahead of time what thirst I’m to look for. Other times, I notice it in ongoing conversations. Prayer makes me sensitive to seeing spiritual thirst in conversations.
Church planting pastors need to listen for spiritual thirst and learn to ask effective questions to help people become aware of their spiritual thirst.
Prayer will also make the church planter sensitive to those “random conversations” with total strangers who are asking spiritual questions.
In my experience teaching my personal evangelism seminar, those who spend the next 30 days in prayer find they have more opportunities to have natural conversations.
3. Maximize Your Networking Time.
Following the process mapped out in Luke 10, look for the person of peace.
The person of peace can often put the church planter in direct contact with 15-20 more people in short order.
A person of peace that I’m working with put me in touch with 10 other people.
You might also be able to network in established groups, such as community associations, parent-teacher organizations, sports leagues, or business networking group.
4. Grow your evangelism conversation skills.
A church planter must learn where the current conversation fits in the spiritual journey a person is making.
- Are there more spiritual questions that need answers?
- Is more information needed about who was Jesus?
- Is there a need to build further trust and credibility as a Christian witness?
- Is there a need for healing and forgiveness from Christians who hurt them?
- Are they at the point of conversion?
The skill for the church planter is to discern
- the spiritual thirst and
- the place in the journey the person is making.
The conversation skill involves asking good questions, listening skills, and seeing the connections to gospel stories and yours.
5. Know your stories.
There are three types of evangelistic story:
- God’s activity in your life right now.
- Your journey to faith
- The gospel story.
A church planter must be very familiar with their own spiritual journey (often known as a testimony), as well as the current work of God in life.
If you haven’t yet explored your own journey to faith and the significant steps along the way, spend time getting familiar with your story. Think back to when your spiritual restlessness started and map out the key events and steps along the way. Tell more than the moment of your conversion. Tell the backstory that led to that point.
Along with the church planter’s personal story, the church planter need to be able to present the gospel clearly and simply. In my experience giving personal evangelism seminars around the US, many of the attendees think they can share the gospel. They’ve heard it for years. But when they are put on the spot and have to give an explanation without preparation, they stumble around and discover that they really can’t.
The final story skill a church planter must have is being able to see the current activity of God in life right now.
- What is God teaching you through His word?
- How is God leading you?
- How is God providing for you?
- How is God healing you?
- In what ways do you see the activity of God in your life right now?
Next steps for the church planter
- Review the list of skills above.
- Pick one to focus on this week.
- What is the next step you need to take to improve in this area?
EvangelismCoach Resources for the church planter:
If you want 1-1 personal evangelism coaching, I’ve got space available to start a 90 day coaching program where we meet by phone twice a month for 1 hour each. Contact me for details via the contact us page.