Two ways to lead evangelistically

As a pastor, you probably won’t receive very much encouragement in your personal evangelism practices. I realize that is a little harsh, but true. Other more pressing ministry needs will likely pull you away from sharing Jesus with lost people. In fact, it is safe to say, you will have to personally prioritize personal evangelism if you want to lead evangelistically as a pastor. I wish I had known that when I started in vocational ministry over 30 years ago.  

As a pastor of a congregation, your weekly sermon preparation, providing much-needed pastoral care, meetings with your ministry team, as well as your own family and personal needs, will take most of your time. 

However, as Dr. Paul Chitwood, SBC International Mission Board president, reminds us; the world’s greatest problem is lostness, and the solution to the world’s greatest problem is the gospel. 

The greatest problem in the community you serve is also lostness. Whether you minister in Pikeville or Paducah, Fulton or Florence, Cave City or Horse Creek, the greatest problem in the place you serve is that people are lost and separated from God and, if they die in that condition, they will spend eternity in hell. That is the reality. 

Kentucky has a population of 4.5 million people, and more than 49 percent adhere to some form of religion. More than 14% of the populace attend church somewhere on Sunday morning. That leaves 3,843,358 people — men, women, boys and girls in the commonwealth — who do not attend any church anywhere on Sunday morning. While we know that going to church doesn’t make one a Christian, it is also true that one of the visible indicators that someone knows Jesus is their active participation in a local Bible preaching church. 

What can pastors do to lead their congregation into the mission field in their own community? Here are two things that, if applied consistently over time, will make a difference in the evangelistic temperature of the church you lead: 

1. Lead by example. One of the most important leadership principles is that you can only lead others where you are going yourself. Unfortunately, the pastor who spends his days in a church office will seldom, if ever, be able to lead a congregation of any size to go into their community with the gospel.  

On the other hand, the pastor who has made personal evangelism part of his schedule and part of his lifestyle will lead others to be evangelistic because of his example. People will see you and hear stories about you sharing the gospel with lost people as a regular part of your life. They will be both encouraged and inspired as a result. Your own example will give strength to your evangelistic leadership.  

2. Train your people in personal evangelism. John Maxwell reminds us that we can go faster alone but we can go further together. One way to go further together in evangelism is to train others how to be evangelistic.  

Whether you use resources like Share Jesus without Fear, 3 Circles: Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations, Two Ways to Live, or something different, you will discover that if you train a few people each year in personal evangelism, you will eventually build an evangelistic culture in your church where people witness and pray for lost people more often and rejoice when others are saved and baptized.  

If you do these two things, it will make a difference in the life of your church and in the community where you serve.  

Your Kentucky Baptist Convention staff stands ready to assist you in either of these practices. I personally try to find time in my schedule to knock on doors in some community each week with a Kentucky Baptist pastor. If you would be interested in scheduling a time for us to do this together, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are at our best when we are working together to impact Kentucky and the world for Christ.  

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