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FIRST-PERSON: An evangelism ‘reset’

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – “Have you restarted your device?” It is the first question from any IT help desk. Repeated frustration has taught us that when a favorite app or software program begins running slow or grinds to a halt, we probably need a reset. Some internal process has become stuck in an ineffective loop. Usually, a quick shutdown and restart is all that it takes to get things running smoothly again.

As churches restart more and more programs after the infamous shutdowns of the past year, we must not miss the opportunity to hit a true reset on our evangelism strategies. Otherwise, we may quickly find ourselves stuck in the same ineffective loops all over again.

Here are five simple questions to help hit an evangelistic reset.

  • Which programs should NOT continue? Why rush to bring back a program that was consuming resources but producing little fruit? We have a God-given opportunity to break out of the “we’ve always done it” loop!
  • Which programs can be relaunched for increased disciple-making potential? Many programs and processes seem to be the perfect fit for your church’s unique culture and community context. Why, then, are we not yet seeing visible fruit? “Not yet” may be the answer. Keep modeling, equipping and encouraging. The fruit will come in the Lord’s timing. However, there is often one area of intentionality that we are neglecting. Prayerfully gather your leadership around this question: “How can we most effectively make disciples in our unique context through …” Then apply the question to each and every program. 
  • Which ministries or events are bearing the greatest fruit and should receive greater resources and prioritization? Where is God clearly moving? What adjustments do we need to make to help more people join Him in what He is doing?
  • What is missing? Not every local church can meet every need, which is why we cooperate as “the church.” However, considering the real needs of the people living around our churches, what is missing in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission?
  • Have we made evangelism personal enough? Are God’s people intentionally sharing their faith beyond our church’s programs? Am I sharing the Gospel outside of the pulpit or ministry contexts? Let’s face it. No evangelistic method, program or strategy can overcome a silent witness.

We know the fix before we call the help desk, but too often are hesitant to execute it. That hesitancy is why every call begins with the same question. So, if your personal or church-wide evangelism is lagging, let me ask, “Have you hit reset?”

Rob Patterson is evangelism team leader for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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  • Rob Patterson