A Simple Test to Evaluate Your Outward Focus and Evangelistic Potential

If you want to evaluate how outwardly-focused you are, try this simple exercise for yourself and then perhaps with your congregation. FOR THE SAKE OF THIS PRACTICE, TRY TO DO THE EXERCISES STEP-BY-STEP BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE NEXT STEP.  If you take your church members through this exercise, simply have them complete step 1 before proceeding to step 2. 

Step 1. Take a sheet of paper or type on your phone, and list the names of 10 believers with whom you are close enough you could share a prayer concern with them today. Take the time now to list these names, and thank God for each of them. 

1.

2. 

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Step 2. On that same sheet of paper or your phone, now list the names of 10 non-believers (as far as you know) with whom you are close enough you could share the gospel with them today: 

1.

2. 

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

What do you learn from this exercise? In most cases, here’s the result: many believers can’t list 10 non-believers with whom they have a strong relationship (with the exception of believers whose family members are not yet saved). Here’s my conclusion, in fact: the longer a person is a believer, and the higher a person goes up the leadership ladder of a church, the less likely it is he/she will know well 10 non-believers. 

The implications are clear. A congregation that really does not know lost people won’t win many lost people to Christ. And, that issue begins with church leaders who themselves are disconnected from non-believers. Evangelism seldom happens when we live inside the Christian bubble.  

2 Comments

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Most of us are not going to do well on your simple test. Both lists will most likely be quite short. It is not just that we do not know enough people, what motivated past generations does not motivate us anymore. How many of us are really, really excited about Jesus, the kind of excitement that causes us to share with everybody what or who is causing our excitement. How many of us are really, really concerned about a friend, coworker, neighbor, or relative spending a Godless eternity. We are like a carbonated soft drink, sodas as they called such beverages way back when, which has gone flat. We have lost our fizz. We are more likely to talk with others about a political candidate than we are Jesus. Yesterday I was reading a Trevin Wax article in which he wrote about how politics is becoming our religion. We read about people behaving in all kinds of outrageous ways in support of their favorite political candidate but how many of us will go door-knocking and asking people if they need prayer and giving them an information package about our church. How many of us will spend time every day praying for someone’s salvation? Our faith no longer fires us up—if it ever did. Our lack of zeal may in part explain why online attendance has dropped—that and some of the dynamics that operate in an in-person service are missing from an online one and pastors and worship teams are still trying to conduct services online like they would in-person. I watched a video last night of a schola cantorum, a small ensemble, singing a choral piece. The singing was well-done. The optics were terrible—six people in choir gowns seated six feet apart from each other in a large, empty room. The video would have been much more powerful if it had not shown the schola cantorum but a series of images reflecting themes in their choral piece. It is not inspiring to see and hear a trio of clergy and one cantor in vestments holding a service in a cavernous sanctuary. Neither is it inspiring to see a pastor in a jacket and tie, hair slicked down, a microphone in hand and smarmy smile on his face, looking more like a car salesman than a man of God. Or half-shaved in skinny jeans and sneakers gesturing like he is afraid that if he stops moving, he will lose his audience’s attention. None of these people come across as authentic, as genuine disciples of Jesus. Rather they come across as performers. Maybe it is not noticeable in an in-person service, but it is definitely noticeable online. One is prompted to ask one’s self, “Is this what Jesus is all about?” We are prone to apathy as it is. This sort of thing feeds into our apathy. The pastor who most motivated me to reach out to and to engage the lost was a church planter who did that himself. He spent a good part of his day reaching out to and engaging the lost. He was bi-vocational. He cleaned offices at night. He was serious about what he was doing and his seriousness was infectious.

  • Charles Kile says:

    But it is easy to meet non-Christians, It is called respect. On a hike at Camp Durant nature park, I ask a woman about her church, in her world of Taoism their religious place is called a church. We talked about mediation as a way of listening to God and talked about contemplative prayer that orthodox Christians do. My pastor does television advertisements about my church and she saw the advertisement. Then she looked at me and said I want to come to your church to hear your pastor preach…..

Leave a Reply to Charles Kile Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.