Every church can evangelize, including yours!
Sadly, it can be easier to find a reason for not evangelizing than to find a path for evangelizing. "We're just too small," some may say. "We don't have enough money" or "Our members are too old."
The first church where I went to pastor years ago had renovated the worship center, painted and laid new carpet down in all the buildings. They were proud of all they had done. But when I presented a plan to go door-to-door sharing Jesus around our neighborhood, they balked.
The prevailing attitude was, "Pastor, if we do that, the neighborhood children will come in and ruin all we have just done. We spent too much money on our buildings to see that happen." It's no surprise that the church later went out of existence.
It's time we begin finding ways to evangelize or we will fossilize.
We've seen EE (Evangelism Explosion), CWT (Continual Witness Training), WIN (Witness Involvement Now) and others. It's time we see "ECE"—Every Church Evangelizing!
So where should a church begin in getting back to evangelism?
• Casual opportunities. As we live out our lives across our communities, we need to begin seeing people like Jesus sees people: lost, lonely, hurting, empty and in need of salvation. Our casual conversations provide great opportunities for sharing Jesus with servers at restaurants, hairstylists, those who help with your grocery bags, shoe salesmen, gym members and everyone else you encounter.
We're missing opportunities every day for sharing Jesus because we're not looking for them. The next time you go out to eat, don't see just a server, see them as a person God loves and who needs to hear about Jesus.
• Current opportunities. Your church has current opportunities built into the weekly calendar for sharing the Gospel that often are overlooked for evangelism.
When was the last time the Gospel was shared during a Sunday School class or small group and an invitation given to receive Jesus? Don't overlook these as opportunities for evangelism.
What about worship gatherings? What about men's and women's ministry gatherings? What about children's church and those other ministries that are already in place? Every one of them is an opportunity for sharing the Gospel and giving people the opportunity to receive Jesus.
• Created opportunities. Every church can create special events for sharing the Gospel. Created events can take place around July 4, Easter, Vacation Bible School (Southern Baptists continue seeing more children reached during VBS than any other created opportunity), Christmas, RA Racers, sports camps, Upward Basketball, block parties, neighborhood cleanup day, fall festival and other initiatives that are only limited by our imagination.
Every church can evangelize, including yours, be it through casual opportunities, current opportunities or created opportunities. Like someone once said, "Where there is a will, there is a way," and that includes evangelism.
Ernest L. Easley, professor of evangelism at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., led churches in Georgia and Texas during more than 30 years as a pastor.