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Evangelize to grow the kingdom, not the church, Missouri pastor says

NASHVILLE (BP) – Finding joy in Jesus compels people at a church near St. Louis to share their hope in Jesus Christ, Pastor Michael Byrd says, adding that a growing faith is the springboard for sharing one’s faith.

“So, the question becomes … what does it look like for the people that you share Jesus with to see themselves as missionaries as well?” Byrd asks.

Byrd, pastor of Faith Community Bible Church in Jennings, Mo., was the guest on an episode of Baptist Press This Week focusing on intentional evangelism.

Byrd believes intentional evangelism grows out of intentional discipleship.

“I mean Scripture says taste and see that the Lord is good and if the Lord is good to me then I want other people to taste and see,” he said.

If intentional discipleship pushes believers toward evangelism, then Byrd wants to help new converts be discipled so the cycle continues.

“So, as people come to know the Lord, them coming to know the Lord shouldn’t be the only win,” he said. “We want to see people developed and growing in the Gospel because we want to see those same people that we share the Gospel. We want to see them living on mission as well.”

Byrd helped plant the church eight years ago. He admits there was great pressure to see the church grow numerically, but if he could turn back time, he would focus on kingdom growth rather than church growth.

“The church that we are planting right now is going to die one day, but the kingdom of God will outlast our church. So, evangelize to grow the kingdom, not to grow the church. Let our evangelistic approach be one that makes Jesus known, not as much as our church to meet numbers,” he said.

He says the church trains believers to use resources like 3 Circles, but even more, it encourages them to be looking for opportunities to share their faith on a regular basis.

“Let’s not wait until the church throws a block party or is having some big event to share the Gospel,” he said. “But at your family reunion, at your dinner table … within your family look for ways to share Jesus.”

He believes the context of everyday life is God’s mission field for the believer.

“God uses your personality and your approach to things to help you to do ministry where life exists,” he said.

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