We at Church Answers have a growing burden to help church leaders and congregations do evangelism in a rapidly changing world. As a pastor and professor, though, I know many of us need to make some changes to take this lead in our churches:
1. Ask God to deepen our personal burden for lost people. If we’re honest, many of us have lost some of our heaviness about lostness and eternal judgment. We need our theology to compel us outward again.
2. Take responsibility for leading our church to do evangelism. As I’ve said before, I have never, in more than 25 years of studying churches, seen an evangelistic congregation without an evangelistic pastor. Evangelism starts with the person in the pulpit week after week.
3. Enlist prayer warriors to pray Ephesians 6:18-20 and Colossians 4:2-4 for us. The apostle Paul requested prayer for boldness, clarity, and opportunity in evangelizing others—including jailors who arrested him in the first place. If Paul needed this prayer support, we pastors do, too.
4. Raise up others to help do pastoral care. We need to be doing this anyway as we equip saints to share the work of ministry, but we especially need to do this if we want to lead the way in evangelism. Ministry to believers can consume all our time if we do it alone.
5. Get outside the office to be among non-believers. Most of us have to build this time intentionally into our calendars. If you take this step, be sure to let your church know what you’re doing so they can pray for you and follow your example.
6. Focus on reaching 2-3 non-believers. Cry out for their salvation (Rom 10:1). Fast on their behalf. Grieve their sin more than they may grieve their own. Trust the Lord wants to save them—and press on evangelistically in faith.
7. Build evangelism mentoring into our ministries. Evangelism training programs are important, but this kind of training starts best in small groups. We can light a fire for evangelism in our congregations by striking the match with just a few members.
8. Lead our congregations to emphasize prayer by name for believers to be witnesses and for non-believers to follow Christ. We can pray generically, “God, make us evangelists and call others to Yourself,”—but a nameless burden is really no burden at all. We pray with the most passion when we can name people who need Jesus.
9. Hold ourselves accountable to other church leaders for our evangelism. That might be other elders, deacons, lay leaders, or even other pastors in the area – but be accountable to someone. What we do as pastors matters.
10. Start today. If you read this post and consider changing something later, it’s likely nothing will change. Do something today.
Pastors, what might you add to this list?
Posted on October 25, 2022
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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This is my opinion. People need to be taught how to evangelize, as in what they can say. I remember sermons that motivated me to evangelize, but I was not given the practical steps. This can be done first in a class setting, but then should be modeled in public by those with experience, so those without can witness such.
Thanks, Shawn. I agree these steps are important ones.
Great article Dr. Lawless!
Thank you, Chris.
Have you considered putting a pre-[rinted “Forward” on the bottom of your columns? It would be a convenience when I want to forward one of your columns to a friend, another pastor, perhaps a whole bunch of people.