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Along with the worship of God and the edification of the saints, evangelism is the church's priority. In a local church, the pastor must be among the congregation's vocal leaders and main equippers to evangelize. He must possess a passion for God's glory and His global praise, the gospel, and the salvation of lost people. He should also be among those who encourage the congregation to integrate evangelism throughout the life (ministries, activities, etc.) of the church.

As believers grow in their passion for Jesus Christ and God's glory and a love for lost people, by the enablement of the Spirit, they will desire to evangelize the lost and live godly lives. Thus, by God's grace, the pastor must inspire this passion among the congregation through prayer, teaching, exhorting, and modeling so that believers and ministries become evangelistically oriented and, ultimately, Christ-imitating for the glory of God. ​The following are some ways pastors can place evangelism and missions at the forefront of the church. This list is not meant to be exhaustive: 

Pray

1. Ask God to ignite a passion in your heart for His global praise among the nations and a love for lost people. Also, ask God to ignite a passion in the hearts of those you shepherd.

2. Pray evangelistically, both privately and publicly, and encourage the congregation to do the same. 

3. Pray that Christ would give an evangelist to the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).

4. Pray for local and global missionaries. 

5. Pray for unbelievers whom you and the congregation have evangelized. Also, pray for upcoming evangelistic conversations you and the members may have. 

Teach/Equip

1. Preach the gospel during the Lord’s Day service (Romans 1:15). Avoid simply tacking on the gospel as an addendum at the close of the message. Also, preach the necessity of faith, repentance, and the call of discipleship (Luke 9:23; 14:26). Remember, both unbelievers and believers need to hear the gospel.

2. Teach the biblical motivations for evangelism and missions. 

3. Emphasize every believer’s biblical responsibility and privilege to evangelize and teach evangelism as the norm of the Christian experience. 

4. Teach the role and ministry of the evangelist (e.g., Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:5).

5. Encourage the congregation's confidence in the gospel (above gimmicks), which is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16).

6. Teach a Bible study series on the gospel, the doctrines of Christ (Christology) and salvation (soteriology), and the assurance and evidence of the new birth (e.g., 1 John). Connect those truths to the work of evangelism and missions.

7. Equip the congregation to do lifestyle and corporate evangelism. Encourage opportunities for individual and collective evangelism, such as neighborhood evangelism, college evangelism, workplace evangelism, when possible, family and friend evangelism, and more.

8. Periodically provide the congregation with tools for reaching unbelievers with the gospel, such as tracts, your recorded sermons, online gospel presentations, blogs, etc. [1] 

9. Preach and teach the church's biblical responsibility to love one another. As believers love one another in practice, this will evidence to unbelievers that they are Christ's disciples (John 13:35). 

Model and Publicize

1. Promote and participate in the church’s evangelism efforts. 

2. Share your evangelistic experiences with the congregation.

3. Provide opportunities for members to share their evangelistic experiences. Focus on the doors God has opened, the privilege of being ambassadors for Jesus Christ, and His saving grace. 

4. Print the gospel message and the need to repent and believe in Christ in the weekly bulletin.

5. Provide opportunities for evangelists and missionaries to share how God is advancing the gospel and producing and maturing churches in various parts of the country and world.

Encourage Members/Ministries

Pastors can also encourage the members and ministries to prioritize evangelism in the following ways:

1. Regularly invite unbelievers (relatives, friends, coworkers, etc.) to Bible study, Sunday service, or other opportunities where they can hear the gospel. In an evangelistic church, unbelievers should expect to hear or read about the gospel at some point when the church comes together. 

2. Integrate gospel teaching and evangelism in your ministry meetings, events, and activities. Also, teach the implications of salvation on Christian living.

3. Routinely follow up with visitors (preferably by phone or other avenues) who attend the Sunday Day service for the first time. Communicate the gospel in your conversation.

4. Partner with other churches to serve the community (e.g., food and clothing distribution) and use those opportunities to proclaim the gospel. 

As believers' minds become so saturated with the gospel, they should seek to proclaim it as a way of life. However, as shepherds, pastors must help lead this charge. From the pulpit to the pew, the pastor and congregation must prioritize evangelism as every believer's practice and privilege.

[1] Evangelism Brainstorms. Retrieved from www.evantell.org

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How to Prioritize Evangelism

in the Local Church

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