“The pastor’s primary role is to keep the evangelistic temperature red-hot inside the church.”
Nelson Searcy states that organizations of any kind, churches included, tend to become inwardly focused if no one has committed to keeping them outwardly focused. For churches in particular, an inward turning is natural and inevitable as a church’s self-interest work themselves to the forefront. Churches become busy taking care of the staff, ministering to those in the congregation with various needs, meeting the budget, preparing for the weekend and on and on with the consequence that they forget all about “the salvation of John and Joan in the coffee shop down the street.”
The only hope for the world, writes Bill Hybels, is the local church and the only hope for the local church, states Searcy, is for the pastor to take on their proper leadership role and keep the church focused on reaching others for Jesus. The Bible is very clear: the primary purpose of the faith community, the church, is to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
Though careful studies now indicate that only about 5% – 10% of church members in any local church have the spiritual gift of evangelism (presenting Jesus to an unbeliever in such a manner that their hearts are open to receiving Jesus as personal savior) all church members have some responsibility for evangelism. Remember, the Bible makes it clear that evangelism that results in disciples for Jesus is the single primary work of the church. Therefore, no one is excused from participating.
So what are the other 90% – 95% who don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism to do? As your pastor, I believe there are three things anyone of us can do that will impact our church’s efforts in evangelism. First, look for natural opportunities to talk about your faith with others. Use this template if it will help: My life before becoming a Christian, How I became a Christian and My life after becoming a Christian.
Second, invite people to church with you. Research now shows that somewhere between 80% and 87% of new believers in Jesus Christ came to faith simply because someone they knew invited them to church. In fact, two people who joined our church this past Sunday specifically told me that they came at the invitation of another member.
Invite someone to join you on a particular Sunday that you will be present and be clear that they are invited to sit with you. It doesn’t advance the cause of Christ to simply say, “I hope you will come to my church one Sunday.” Nor does it help for you to invite and not be present the Sunday they attend.
Third, pray for specific people, by name, who you believe does not either believe in Jesus or have a church home. Ask God to work in their heart and through your relationship with them to create a longing for Jesus Christ and desire to learn more of Him through your church.
I agree with Nelson Searcy, my primary work as your pastor is to keep the evangelistic and discipleship ministry of the church red-hot. Only then will First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach be found faithful to the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations.