Cultivating a Culture of Evangelism in Your Church (with resources linked)
Here is a general outline of my notes from my "Cultivating a Culture of Evangelism in Your Church" Discussion on 10/13/15:
- The gospel defined: God, Man, Christ, Response
- Exclusivity of Christ
- Reality of eternal joy and eternal judgment
- God sovereignly chose all those who would be saved
- God wants all men to be saved
- God uses means to save his people
Defining a Culture of Evangelism
- Evangelism: telling the gospel to someone with the aim of persuading them to believe in Christ Jesus and repent from sin.
What’s a culture of evangelism you ask? Well, if evangelism is “teaching people the gospel with an aim to persuade”, then a culture of evangelism is the kind of environment where this activity is the air the congregation breathes. To give us a picture of what that looks like, Stiles gives us 11 marks of a culture of evangelism (pp. 48-61):
1. A Culture Motivated by Love for Jesus and His Gospel –
2. A Culture That is Confident in the Gospel –
3. A Culture That Understands the Danger of Entertainment –
4. A Culture That Sees People Clearly –
5. A Culture That Pulls Together as One –
6. A Culture in Which People Teach One Another –
7. A Culture That Models Evangelism –
8. A Culture in Which People Who Are Sharing Their Faith Are Celebrated –
9. A Culture That Knows How to Affirm And Celebrate New Life –
10. A Culture Doing Ministry That Feels Risky and Is Dangerous –
11. A Culture That Understands That the Church Is the Chosen and Best Method of Evangelism
What it looks like (2 stories)
- pp. 76-78 - story in one church
- pp. 80-81 - story that works across churches
The picture of cultivation (as opposed to engineering, programming, executing, or building)
Some (19) Habits/Seeds to sow, water, and clear out weeds for in cultivating a culture of evangelism
(my experience has been in sowing and watering a culture of evangelism and seeing it start to become the culture of the church but then God sent us to FSBC Bellflower to start over but 10 steps back)
BEFORE I GIVE MY LIST TAKE THIS INDEX CARD AND WRITE 3-5 OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICES THAT WOULD CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM IN THE CHURCH.
Here are different seeds that need to be sown and watered habitually in a church as you pray for God to bring the growth/increase. I broke it up int theological-oriented seeds, instituional-oriented seeds, and organic-oriented seeds:
3 Theologically-oriented seeds:
1. Define success accurately and believe the biblical definition
- Success in evangelism is not the amount of conversions or building a crowd. We want conversions! That’s our aim. And we’ll celebrate it like crazy (we ought to). But we understand our role and God’s role are not the same. He is ultimate, we are instrumental.
- Evangelistic success is you and your people sharing the gospel with love and boldness and not necessarily the response to the gospel (repentance/faith or rejection/indifference)
- Another key to understanding success: What happens to us
- We tend to focus on the effect on others so we lose heart.
- Philemon 6 (sharing of your faith) makes us effective of knowing the good things in us for Christ -
- “Paul is saying something I rarely hear: that sharing our faith if for our benefit, too, so that we might gain a full understanding of the good things we have in Christ. The Bible says that among all the good reasons to share our faith, on of them is what happens to us.
- it makes us appreciate our salvation
- It reminds of the privilege of being able to share it with others.
- Evangelizing is a spiritual discipline that leads to spiritual growth just like prayer, bible reading/meditation, confession of sin, fasting, hearing the preaching of God’s Word, etc.
- Believe the power of the gospel to bear fruit in people’s lives long after the awkward conversation and seeming indifference or rejection. This is an issue of faith
- If God guaranteed the conversion of your hearers would you gospelize more? He promises to accomplish his purposes through his Word going out (Isaiah).
- It’s the power of God (Rom 1.16)
- It bears fruit in his time in his way and you must trust you are a small part of the orchestra and not the whole orchestra (you might be the set up guy and not the finisher).
2. Destroy the dichotomy between evangelism and edification - gospelize. Why?
- It’s a biblical word (Romans 1)
- Christians who gospelize more naturally gospelize non-Christians - Trains members to gospelize regularly by gospelizing Christians which comes more easily
- Christians who are gospelized are more likely to gospelize
- It forces members to learn how to rely on the Word and Spirit in interaction with other Christians (and eventually non-Christians)
- They begin to love and treasure the gospel more
3. Plant seeds of truth stating hard facts:
- Exclusivity of Christ
- Reality of hell
- lack of evangelism in the church
- The need for the church and community
- The priority of evangelism as the most necessary good deed to a non-Christian neighbor
- God uses the means of evangelism and messengers (Rom. 10.14-17)
11 (Pastoral Leadership) Institutional Oriented seeds:
1. Don’t rely primarily on programs:
2. Use what your church already does: Songs, Prayers, Communion, Baptism, Offering, Calling each other brother/sister, Preaching
3. Preach expositionally. As your people hear God’s word every week they will increasingly reflect his glory to the world. Week by week their lives will become a more focused picture of their savior, Jesus Christ.
4. Regularly apply your sermons to members/Christians as gospelizers
5. Preach the gospel every week. As your people hear the gospel every week they will grow in their appreciation for it, their understanding of it, and their ability to share it with others. Preach for the conversion of the lost at some point in every sermon. Every sermon.
6. Address non-Christians in your sermons. This will encourage your church members to bring non-Christian friends to church. It will also teach/train them how to effectively address non-Christians by your example. The cumulative effect of doing this week after week begins to stamp a hearers life.
7. Teach individual church members to evangelize. Teach Sunday school classes on the gospel and evangelism. Give out books on evangelism. Encourage church members to share evangelistic opportunities with the church so that others can participate in and pray for them.
8. Teach a biblical understanding of the gospel and conversion. Make sure that your people understand the gospel and how someone becomes a Christian.
9. Be careful to admit only Christians into membership. If the church is filled with genuine, growing Christians, it will broadcast the truth that God is a holy and gracious Savior. If the church is filled with non-Christians, it will broadcast lies about God and the gospel.
10. Promote holiness. Preach God’s law. Call your people to live lives that reflect God’s holy character. Doing this in your public preaching and teaching will help craft a culture of holiness, a collective expectation and standard of holiness. The goal is to have a church that shows the world what God’s grace, holiness, and love actually look like.
11. Practice church discipline for restoration. Unrepentant sinners are to be expelled from the church so that their influence doesn’t corrupt the whole church. A church that doesn’t practice church discipline will eventually succumb to hypocrisy and develop a corporate testimony that flatly contradicts the gospel. Consistent church discipline will preserve the church’s holiness and ensure that it practices what it preaches, giving unbelievers a consistent portrait of God’s own character and love.
5 (Christian Lifestyle) Organic oriented seeds:
1. The pastors modeling evangelism by example and by personally training others to observe their life in this area. Pray with those you disciple for evangelistic boldness and conversion fruit.
- This lead to integrity in preaching on it
- Which leads to power in preaching on it
- Talking about your evangelistic experiences stimulates ideas for members that the Spirit uses to lead them forward
- Your church largely becomes a reflection of its leadership (I’ve heard)
2. Train members to practice 3-strand evangelism
- Share the gospel
- Deepen friendship
- Introduce to Christian community
3. Create environments where non-Christians and Christians regularly interact
4. Eat meals with non-Christians
5. Identify the rhythms of life in the culture and engage those rhythms with gospel intentionality.
- Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles
- Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt
- Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around the Gospel and Community by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
- 11 Marks of a Culture of Evangelism (Derek Rishmawy)
- How Can a Pastor Develop a Church's Corporate Evangelistic Witness? (9Marks)
- How to Create a Culture of Evangelism (The Gospel Coalition)
- Gospel Fluency (GCM Collective)
- Three-Strand Evangelism (Tim Chester)
- Jeff Vanderstelt teaches 5 sessions on Gospel Fluency (Justin Taylor)
- Jeff Vanderstelt's one session on Gospel Fluency (Living Stones Church)
- Being Ambassadors for Christ (Mack Stiles)
- Christian, You are Crazy (Mack Stiles interviewed by TGC)
- Yearning for a Culture of Evangelism (Mack Stiles)
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