Here are three questions that spark a great discussion:
- What is evangelism?
- Ideally, what does effective evangelism look like in a healthy congregation?
- What does evangelism look like in your congregation?
These three questions produce all sorts of divergent answers.
1. What is evangelism?
Most times, I’m given cliche filled answers that people have heard over their years of being in a church. For example,
- Preaching the Word.
- Sharing the Good News.
- Sharing your testimony.
- Giving the reason for your faith.
It may seem like a no-brainer question, but this question is aimed at revealing assumptions that people bring to the discussion.
I have written a discussion guide on personal evangelism here.
2. Ideally, what does effective evangelism look like in a healthy congregation?
This one gets at the “should.” It reveals the dream, the image, the mental picture of what evangelism should look like if the church was doing it as they each think.
I’ll get answers like
- Preaching the gospel
- Giving invitations to follow Christ
- Baptisms upon profession of faith.
- Members sharing their faith with their friends.
- Members giving their friends invitations to church.
- Conversations with people who use our community services.
- Prayer groups focused on bringing our community to Christ.
3. What does evangelism look like in your congregation?
Here is where I think the discussion gets fun and lively. I’ll get answers like
- We have a committee.
- Outreach planning committees.
- Membership recruitment processes.
- Letting recovery groups rent our building.
- Church marketing: website, brochures, direct mail.
- Hospitality and assimilation processes around greeters and visitor follow up.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that evangelism ideals and evangelism practice often don’t line up in congregations.
Set aside 5-10 minutes in your next evangelism committee or church leadership team / staff meeting to discuss these same three questions.
Ask yourselves what steps might you need to take to help evangelism look more like the ideal in your congregation?
What hinders you from taking those steps?