TheDaveYoung / July 16, 2016
Over the last week or so I have blogged about “things” I would try to do if I were a pastor. Today, I want to add one more.
If I were a pastor, I would want to do everything possible to make my church a soul-winning, growing church. There are always exceptions, but it does seem that soul-winning, growing churches are pretty few. Some churches grow because other believers join them, but a church that is growing by reaching souls is almost a novelty. I think I know why too. It isn’t that it is just difficult to do, it is actually impossible to do on our own. God has to fill us with His Spirit and lead us and guide us and break our hearts for souls. He has to take the seeds we sow and He is the one who gives the increase. Is it possible, that we have so few soul-winning, growing churches because we aren’t sowing seeds? Is it possible that we have no burden? Is there more we could do? I think there is and I would like to make 10 simple suggestions:
- Just do it. Weekly. Daily. Continually. On purpose. Reach out to people and constantly look for opportunities to do the work. Accept no excuses. Years ago I was preaching with an older pastor who, after some persuasion on my part, agreed to go soul-winning with me. He assured me that it didn’t work where he pastored because the entire town was mormon and traditional methods would not work. So we went, and knocked on four doors and had four in-depth gospel conversations with a catholic family, an atheist, and agnostic, and one other who had no views either way.
- Teach it. Constantly provide instruction for your people. Teach them how to present the gospel simply and clearly. Teach them how to present the gospel apologetically too. The closer our culture gets to humanism and atheism the more we have to prepare to be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you” (I Peter 3:17).
- Prepare for fruit. Prepare to have people who don’t dress exactly “churchy.” Prepare for some shocking situations in marriages and homes and backgrounds. Prepare to love people and all of their broken pieces. Prepare to be very patient as people grow. Prepare the baptistry. Prepare for a serious investment of time in helping people to become disciples. Prepare for fruit!
- Use a weekly kid’s program as a gospel outreach to children and their parents. Make it first class and make it evangelistic.
- Organize teen outreaches. Take the teens on a weekly door-to-door soul winning time. Train teens to start Bible clubs in their school. Schedule Friday evening gospel events just for teens. One pastor friend has a broom hockey court in the church parking lot and invites neighborhood kids every Friday evening. Another has an after church basketball game time on Wednesday evenings. Teens desperately need Christ so I would want to do all in my power to reach as many as possible.
- Use a Reformer’s Unanimous program. I preach often in churches that use this program and many, many times meet people who have been saved and are in the services as a result.
- Start a van or bus ministry and pair it with a gospel oriented Sunday school and junior church.
- Teach people to eat with “publicans and sinners.” Normal, everyday-kind-of conversations are often a paved highway to gospel conversations.
- Have a variety of “end-of-the-service-invitation” options available. Present the gospel and invite people to trust Christ. Invite those same people to “come forward” or “go backward” for prayer with a caring and loving and knowledgeable counselor. Set aside one room as an “inquiry” room where people can meet for prayer and counsel. Invite “seekers” to coffee or even to a meal. Talk with them and witness to them.
- Do follow-up work as soon as possible. When a guest visits your church, reach out to them immediately. Use a text or an email or a short phone call. If they have teens, have the youth department reach out to them that very day. If they have children, have the junior church workers do the same. Have a definite plan for beginning discipleship and pair them with people who can most likely have the best influence on them and who can devote the best amount of time
If I were a pastor, there is no doubt that I would want to do everything possible to make my church a soul-winning, growing church. I know you would want that as well. What suggestions would you make? What has your church done? I would love to hear about it.
Once again, thanks for reading.