Pastors and ministry leaders have many important responsibilities. One is to help shape within their congregation or ministry a culture (or “environment”) that is expressive of the love and life of Jesus Christ. A critical aspect of such a culture is having an evangelistic orientation—a passion for sharing actively in what Jesus is doing to reach out in love to share the gospel with non-Christians.
How do leaders do that? There is no one-size-fits-all formula, but there are helpful practices. Here are four, offered by LifeWay president Thom Rainer in a blog post:
- Model passion for evangelism. As a leader in your church, be active in sharing the gospel with non-believers. Then share your experiences with your church family. Doing so is much more impactful than a dozen sermons or Bible studies about evangelism. Passion for evangelism is more caught than taught.
- Ask one of your small groups or classes to become an evangelistic group for one year. This fosters accountability on a small scale as that group understands that it has been selected to be an example for the whole church. Watch how the group becomes more intentionally evangelistic—more prayerfully creative and excited to reach people with the gospel. Then share their stories with the whole church.
- Begin a small-scale evangelistic mentoring program. Doing so is another way to foster accountability. The mentor should teach their protégés how to begin a conversation about Jesus with a non-believer and how to include in that conversation a clear presentation of the gospel.
- Regularly pray in church services for the lost. Most members are not hesitant to pray for the physical needs of people. But it is rare for churches to pray together for the conversion of non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. As a church begins to pray consistently this way, God often begins to demonstrate clear answers to those prayers. As that happens, you will see your church becoming more evangelistic in its culture.