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Cultivate a Culture of Evangelism [Part 2]

By Bill Hogg

As I noted in Part 1, externally focused congregations are a North American rarity. Church planting has been hailed as a vital evangelistic methodology. However, evangelistic fruitfulness and deep missional engagement do not happen by accident. I invite you to wrestle with the challenge to create a culture of evangelism by God’s grace.

Paul reminded the amnesiac Corinthians that the gospel is of first importance. This is more than a doctrinal issue, although it certainly involves gospel clarity. It’s possible to have a gospel theology without a gospel culture.

Identify, Encourage, and Release Evangelists

There is a pressing need to identify, encourage, equip, support, and raise up the next generation of evangelists. Across North America, we need to identify a new generation of leaders who have the evangelist anointing and demonstrate fruitfulness in evangelism and turn them loose for the glory of God and the sake of the world. Evangelists are recruiters who love the gospel, love sharing good news, and love lost people. They have a heart for those far from God. The heart of an evangelist is fixed on and stirred by the story of God and sharing it with broken people in a broken world.

Have you identified the evangelists around you? What are you doing to support and encourage them?

Equip People to Tell Their Story and God’s Story

The reality exists that most people do not regularly share their faith, and many statistics and surveys confirm this harsh reality. How are you encouraging people to pray and equipping them to engage in spiritual conversations? What kind of training are you offering to help people share good news, explain their faith and respond winsomely and confidently to questions that arise?

Reaching People

If a mystery worshiper stumbled into your corporate worship setting, how would they score your church’s hospitality and intelligibility? Are you tracking and connecting with those who drop in on your gathering? Do they feel welcomed? Would they respond to your preaching? Are your messages accessible to enquirers, explores, and skeptics? Your teaching and preaching must bring the Word of God to bear on the questions, aspirations, brokenness, and idols of normal folk.

In our post-Christian context people need the opportunity to explore the claims of Jesus. We need to give them the time and space to do so. This involves adopting the posture of a guide, exercising some patience, and giving people space to air their questions, concerns, and objections regarding Christianity.

How Do You Evaluate Evangelistic Impact?

You may be engaged in outreach or activities that are labelled as “evangelism.” How do you inspect and weigh the fruit from these efforts? We can run soccer camps, a slew of VBS programs, men’s events, and dinner parties for women and call each activity an outreach event. However, we must evaluate whether or not these activities actually intersect with pre-Christian men, women, and children.

Who is being reached? Is the gospel being communicated in a clear and compelling way? Are people being helped to take baby steps towards Jesus? What is the next step for those who express interest or respond to Jesus?  Are we providing sanctified entertainment for saints from other congregations or actually helping those disconnected from the loving Father taking steps toward him?

As you examine these things, I hope they guide, direct, and help you provide clarity to create an evangelistic culture in your church or ministry.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Hogg

Dr. Bill Hogg’s passion is proclaiming the beauty, power, and truth of the good news of Jesus and equipping others to share the gospel. Bill is available as a training resource to inspire, equip, and coach leaders, church plants, and established faith communities to follow Jesus into their respective mission fields. He offers a variety of equipping resources and experiences to help ignite the fires of evangelism. Bill is a former radio host and has served as a pastor, professor, evangelist, and a movie extra! He was involved in pioneer evangelism in his native Scotland where he launched Youth for Christ. He is part of the Arrow Leadership Ministries faculty, offering congregational and Para-church leaders training in evangelism. His doctoral research focused on leadership approaches to the missional renewal of established congregations. Hogg is a published author who has written books on prayer and on youth culture and is currently writing an evangelism primer. Bill is married to his sweetheart, Morag and has two amazing adult kids, Naomi and Peter. Bill and Morag both enjoy being Mackenzie’s grandparents. Demonstrating how ambidextrous he is, Bill enjoys both real football (“soccer” to North American Philistines) and NFL. He is a Man United and Seattle Seahawks fan. Bill and Morag have recently discovered the joy of snow shoe walking. Bill is a movie buff and admits to being a fan of Master Chef and Kitchen Nightmares. He enjoys grocery shopping and browsing in bookstores while savoring gourmet coffee.

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