I’ve said it before on this site: “I’ve never seen an evangelistic church without an evangelistic pastor.” If the person preaching the Word every week is not faithfully evangelizing, it’s unlikely the church will do anything different. That fact means that many pastors—if not most—must intentionally prioritize evangelism. Here are some ways to do that:
- Take an honest look at your church’s attendance numbers. If you discover that your church simply isn’t reaching non-believers, that finding should increase your burden. If you’ve been pastoring the church for very long, it should also weigh heavy on you that you’ve not led your church to be evangelistic.
- If necessary, confess your apathy toward evangelism. While #1 above looks at the corporate life of the church, this suggestion focuses on your own life. We won’t work on correcting things until we’ve admitted there’s a problem.
- Ask two prayer warriors in your church to pray for your evangelistic efforts. Get them to pray Ephesians 6:18-20 and Colossian 4:2-4 for you, asking God for boldness, clarity, and opportunity to share. Then, hold yourself accountable to them for your efforts.
- Begin praying for five non-believers by name every day. Most of us won’t evangelize if we’re not burdened enough to pray for others. And, a generic, “Lord, save lost people” is hardly evidence of a burden.
- Set some personal goals for evangelism. Consider these, in addition to #4 above: (a) the number of times you will engage someone in a spiritual conversation each week, and (b) the number of times you will actually share the gospel personally each week. I don’t always get here, but my prayer is that I will not go through a week without telling the gospel to someone.
- Give one afternoon each week to be in the community developing relationships. You won’t be surprised, either, that I encourage these relationships to be with unbelieving and unchurched people. Walk the streets, and stop in local businesses. Get to know people. Serve in a local school. Invite somebody to lunch.
- Share your testimony with your church again. In too many cases, the only time a pastor tells his story is when the church is considering him as the candidate for their pastorate. Many pastors haven’t told their own story in a long time, and many church members have thus not heard them.
- Once a week, send a written gospel witness to someone via text, email, or other electronic means. Doing so requires you to know some non-believers, of course, so you might need to start praying for connections if you’re cocooned in the church world.
- Equip a few church members to tell their own stories. Don’t worry about equipping the entire church; focus on a few to get started—and the Lord will increase your own burden for doing evangelism. Model evangelism as you teach it.
Pastors, how do you prioritize evangelism?