Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 Ways to Embed Evangelism in Your Culture

Few people would claim that evangelism comes naturally. In fact, for most, it means taking risks and stepping outside their comfort zones. But Christ doesn’t ask those with the gift of evangelism to be the only ones to share their faith. He asks all of us. When it comes to embedding a culture of evangelism in a church, it boils down to this:

1. Live a lifestyle of personal evangelism
Pastors can engage in very specific steps to embed a culture of evangelism in their church, starting by living it themselves. When the pastor and the leadership of the church are fired up about living a lifestyle of evangelism, they are sending a clear message to the congregation that it is a priority.

2. Teach regularly about evangelism
Walking the walk is key, but so is talking the talk. Pastors need to teach about evangelism on a regular basis. 

3. Provide training to equip the congregation in how to engage in personal evangelism
It’s important to offer training classes that can help people learn how to share their faith. At Willow we recently began offering Alpha and Just Walk Across the Room trainings to equip the congregation in personal evangelism. And we didn’t just offer it to adults; we also offered an age-appropriate training for kids. If kids can learn the importance of personal evangelism at an early age, it can set them on that path for the rest of their lives. 

4. Vision cast the importance of evangelism every few months
Every time there is an opportunity to vision cast about the mission of the church, evangelism should be at the top of the list. When we offer support groups to those who are hurting, we want people to get healing and meet the great Healer—Jesus Christ. When we open the doors to provide immediate relief (food, clothing, etc.) in times of crisis, we want to introduce people to Christ because He is the One who meets all our needs. At the heart of outreach, there is a burning desire to see people come to faith. Don’t pass up an opportunity to vision cast to every ministry about the impact they’re having on reaching people for Christ. 

5. Celebrate!
And it’s always important to celebrate. The Bible says that every time someone crosses the line of faith, there is rejoicing in heaven (Luke 15:10). For us at Willow, every June the entire congregation gathers at the lake on our campus for a lakeside Baptism. People bring picnics and sit on blankets on the shore and as people are baptized, there is a lot of shouting, cheering, and celebrating!

Bill Hybels (@BillHybels)
Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

Chairman of the Board, Willow Creek Association
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