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The Evangelism Conundrum

How do we engage new people? Now, that doesn’t exactly sound like biblical phrasing, but it’s the question Jesus frequently used to challenge His disciples—Lift up your eyes!


The idea in this question is, how do we make contact with people outside of our current circle? How do we interact with folks who don’t currently attend, have never attended, and don’t really plan on attending our local church? Are they a “them” to us or do we see them as potentially a part of the “us.”

Virtually every congregation we have surveyed over the past five years will tell us that among the five functions of the Church (Fellowship, Discipleship, Service, Evangelism, Worship), their least effectiveness is found in evangelism. Fellowship and Worship are usually their perceived strengths, but reaching others with the Gospel isn’t something their congregation members prove to accomplish effectively.

Sure, some will say that if they bring them in, Pastor has proved effective at bringing them to the altar, but given that there might be a hundred of us in the room each week and only one or two outsiders, few if any of us are having success at reaching others. On average (in Assembly of God churches) it takes four or five of us to lead one person to Jesus each year! I can’t think of any other environment where that would seem like a high rate of effectiveness.

One of the likely causes for our struggle in the area of evangelism is that of the five functions listed above, this is the one we expect people to accomplish on their own. We worship together, fellowship together, provide discipleship settings to engage together, and serve together. But when it comes to evangelism (a subject pastor preaches on more than the others), we anticipate them doing this after they leave us. “Go get ’em,” is the essence of our strategy in most places.

Could evangelism become a team sport like the others? Is there an effective way to do this together?

Since people in your church are already interacting with those outside your church during the week, how can you help them be more successful engaging them for kingdom purposes?

What is God up to in the area or neighborhood where your church is located? How might your church join in that activity as a healthy expression of the kingdom of God?

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