Along with the worship of God and the edification of the saints, local and global evangelism are among the priorities of the local church. In a local church, the pastor must be among the vocal leaders and main equippers of the congregation to evangelize. He must possess a passion for God's glory, 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 that 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 (i.e., among the nations everywhere) and a love for lost people. Ask God to also ignite a passion in the hearts of the congregation 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 your missionaries and for other missionaries around the world. 

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

Teach/Equip

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

 

2. Teach on 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 on 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 (not in gimmicks) as 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 evidences of the new birth (e.g., 1 John). Connect these truths to the ministry 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 (i.e., each member’s neighborhood as well as the local church’s neighborhood), college evangelism, workplace evangelism, family and friend conversations (e.g., in person or by Zoom), 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 on the church's biblical responsibility to "one another." As believers love one another in practice this will testify 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 used by Him as 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, the Lord’s Day service, and ministry  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 teaching of the gospel 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 personal avenues) who attend the Lord's 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. 

 

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

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

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Ways to Prioritize Evangelism

in the Local Church