Currently, I am in Phoenix, Arizona for an Urban Centers Strategy Meeting on Behalf of NAMB. The purpose of the meeting is to develop a strategy for reaching the Greater Phoenix area through evangelism and church planting. We will also be discussing the return of Crossover to the Phoenix area in 2011.
As I thought about this meeting, I wondered about how many existing churches actually have a strategy for reaching their field of influence with the gospel.
Sadly, I feel that the answer is "few if any."
Jesus had a strategy for reaching the world with the gospel. He selected twelve men and mentored them extensively for three years before his death, burial and resurrection. He then turned them loose and empowered them with the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission. Turns out, it was very effective strategy as evidenced by the existence of the Church today.
Here are a few things to consider when contemplating a local church strategy for reaching people with the good news.
Context - Where has God placed your church? Are you located in a inner city environment, a rural area or in an area of affluence? The answer to this question will change the way you reach out to the community.
Culture - What is unique about the people that you are ministering to? Are there cultural obstacles that must be addressed in order to reach the people you are attempting to reach?
Commission - Does your congregation understand the importance of reaching people with the gospel? Have they been taught and trained in evangelism methodology? What needs to be added or improved?
Conversation - In what ways has your church attempted to engage the people of the community previously? What has worked? What has not worked?
Concern - How can you become missional in your approach to reaching the community? In other words, do you expect people to come to you, or are you going to them.
Cost - What changes will have to be made in order to reach the community with the gospel? Are people in your congregation willing to sacrifice what is needed to accomplish the work?
These are only a few of the considerations that must be taken into account before developing an evangelism strategy for reaching the community. Your strategy must be specific enough to meet the needs of the community, yet simple enough to be embraced by your congregation.
If your church would like help in developing an effective evangelism strategy, I would be glad to talk to you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.