How many people have you invited to church in the last week? The last month? The last year? I’ll be honest, for me the answer would be not near enough. But in my defense, I generally see the same 3-5 people each week in my small town, and they all have a home church. All of them except Nancy who works at Dollar General, I’m still working on her.
The truth is evangelism is difficult in a small town. There are only so many places to go, and so many people to invite. And almost everyone has a home church, even if they aren’t really attending it.
To further complicate matters, most of the community commutes thirty minutes or more outside of the town to go to work. This makes inviting coworkers more difficult because most of them aren’t willing to travel to a smaller town to go to church.
I’ve also heard in some churches, probably not yours, congregants are too embarrassed to invite their friends. They’re worried that someone’s aunt Edna is going to be led to sing a special, and Aunt Edna can’t sing a lick but no one has the heart to tell her.
Given our current set of circumstances, we have two options.
We can do like a lot of churches and throw up our hands and say that’s just the way it is, people don’t love Jesus enough to invite their friends and family anymore.
Or we can start getting really intentional about developing a strategy for evangelism.
I’m hoping you’ll choose an evangelism strategy, and if you do here are a few key components that you’ll need.
1. A vision for reaching the community.
This seems obvious, but it’s a key that many churches are missing. The natural pull over time for a church is to focus on insiders over outsiders. As the pastor you need to keep the focus on reaching rather than keeping.
2. Teach people to live out their faith.
If the church looked more like Jesus, I have no doubt that our seats would be filled. The world is searching for love, kindness, and peace. We just have to teach our people to demonstrate it, wherever they are.
3. Be the example.
Don’t expect your people to be evangelistic if you aren’t. You must lead the way. Look for opportunities to invite, and then share those stories, both successes and failures.
4. Get everyone involved.
Not everyone is going to be comfortable going up to a stranger and inviting them to church. Not everyone is going to have a long list of friends and family they can invite. Some people are going to be tellers, some are going to be bringers, and the rest need to be pray-ers.
5. Offer multiple on-ramps.
Evangelism shouldn’t be just about Sunday morning. If it is, you’re seriously limiting your effectiveness. Utilize multiple on-ramps such as small groups and special events. It’s not always about getting people to step through your doors. Sometimes it’s just getting them to step in the right direction.