by Jeff Droogsma, Outreach Magazine, June 23, 2020.
SET TIME ASIDE
Our leadership teams all meet on the same night… During those meetings, we intentionally make time for each ministry to talk about one person they are working with and we pray for them. We have all the normal ministries and programs, but this approach is helping every team to think more deeply about people who have not yet come to Christ.
For example, one change that came out of this process was a desire in our people to start offering to conduct funerals for nonmembers. We are now serving many families through this ministry, and the church is connecting with more people…
FOCUS ON THOSE WHO WANT TO GROW
We realized that we needed to accept that some people at our church might permanently avoid becoming outreach oriented. Rather than focus on that group, we wanted to provide a way for others to grow in their ability to share their faith and help people come to Christ.
We offer different adult Sunday school classes that meet at the same time. We have been intentional about devoting one of those classes to connecting and equipping people for outreach. Our last series focused on praying for the people in our lives and sharing stories. This semester we are talking about Jesus in the workplace, and how to be a light and outward focused in our jobs.
… There is a growing sense that outreach is where the fun is.
GET PERSONAL ABOUT THE PROCESS
We always focus on our FRANC group (friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues). It reminds us to constantly be asking, “Who is in your world?”
We require a mandatory check-up process for our leaders. During those times, we spend 5 to 10 minutes talking through who is on their FRANC list. We then provide a quick teaching and one quick story.
… We explain that it is often natural to feel scared when we reach out. We have been intentional about getting out of our Christian bubbles so we can model lives that characterize outreach in normal and natural ways, and we speak about these occasionally.
…In many ways, our church is quite traditional. While the architecture and committee structures have not changed, something new is happening in the heart of the congregation. God is leading us on a journey that is bearing fruit in new ways.
(The Church Evangelism Institute, the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College hosts cohorts of senior pastors across North America who are committed to growing both their personal and congregational evangelism and outreach passion.)