Recently I received an email asking why are most churches not growing and are so evangelistically anemic? Here's my answer:
You are right on target, and it bothers us all. I'd say, taking men and women together, that 60% of the possible church planting type people we talk to about sharing faith say they have never led anyone to the point of committed faith in Jesus. My question is, if tist is true, then how to do church leaders think they can even help those already with faith towards a more robust, active discipleship? It seems like a devolving loop of less and less.
The other side of the coin is the idea that we need to help everyone in our churches become "super disciples." This doesn't seem realistic either. Most people in our churches just want to be people who live good and do good in their world. They want to be pretty good disciples, not super disciples.
I'm a believer in pursuing simple ways to raise the evangelistic temp in people's hearts that also increase their discipleship. Here are three basic, fundamental actions every church should take to raise the evangelistic temperature of their people:
1. Church leaders (particularly staff ministers) must practice weekly, deliberate spiritual conversations with random and planned people each week. Random people are those we just meet in daily life and strike up conversations with them. While these meetings are random, the conversations are not. We must deliberately ask good questions of them and keep our eyes and ears open for the work of God in their lives. Planned people are those with whom we are investing relational energy, helping them walk their journey into faith in Jesus Christ. We have a system, a plan, that helps us lead them forward toward faith.
Then we need to season our conversations, lessons, and sermons with these spiritual experiences with others. This both models the content of these conversations and develops the expectation that this is a normal expression of Christian life. If we are not faith sharers how could we expect those we lead to share their faith.
2. Train your people with simple tools that help them share faith. Here are two simple but very effective tools.
First, encourage your people to pray for wait staff in restaurants. This is so simple. Here's what we say, "We're going to share a prayer for our food, is there anything we can pray for you about?" The responses you will receive doing this is amazing. As simple as this act is it makes our people step out and make a faith confession. It also blesses everyone we pray for.
Second, teach your people what we call the "3-Step Questions." Here are the questions:
3. Create invitation events that give your people the opportunity to invite others to participate. Every year a church should have three or four big day events. Friends Day, Easter, and Back to School are three of the most common. Other types of invitation events are service days, Vacation Bible Schools, and content activities such as Financial Peace, Love and Logic, and marriage seminars.
Along with these general events that expose people to Jesus and the church we also need to have some event whose purpose is to give people the opportunity to consider the claims of Jesus's lordship for their life. The course Kairos most commonly encourages is the Alpha course.
With these three simple actions we create a culture of sharing faith with each other (how many Christians never really talk about their faith with other Christians even) and with those in our relationship networks.
These are things Kairos trains on in Strategy Lab and through our website. Keep raising the evangelistic temp of your church.
You can learn more about evangelizing in today's world from the Kairos Sharing Faith workbook.