Our Evangelistic Imperative

Jeff HessingerAll Enews, Strengthening Team

I have been tasked to champion evangelism in all of its forms, from witness training, church strategy, to community saturation of the Good News. To best understand my perspective, let me share a short analogy. We often use imagery to help us define the church and her purpose. For years I have been using the image of two boats. Some see the church like a cruise ship. Members are paying customers who get onboard to enjoy a journey to chase the sun for a week. The customers are happy as long as their needs are met, food is good, shows are entertaining, and the staff serves well to ensure their comfort and never presses them to get out of the poolside recliner until the sun sets.

I prefer to see the church and her purpose in the image of a battleship. The warship has a clear Kingdom purpose which is to rescue the perishing judgment for their sin. The mission of the church is the Mission of God: Missio dei. Everyone on the battleship is skilled, gifted, and bent to serve their purpose to ensure missional success in every generation. Does this sound familiar? Yes!! The church! The church you pastor and the church I pastor. The Commander-in-Chief has called each of us to the gospel ministry as battleship captains. There is so much to do on a battleship that a captain can get lost in the minutia of always being ready for, but never engaging the darkness in the battle for the souls of men. This is my view of the church. You can read further on my analogy at jeffhessinger.com.

I’m currently pastoring a church that that was sinking. It had turned inward to maintain and circle the water to keep their heads above water. I was literally told I may get killed going door-to-door in July inviting people to the first VBS in over 20 years. Things have changed in a year, and I have been reminded of a few things I’d like to share with you:

  • The pastor needs to lead the church to be intentionally evangelistic. No one encourages me to make evangelism a top priority in all that we do. So, if evangelism is going to be a priority, I have to make it happen.
  • The pastor must have a deep personal conviction to lead and develop a healthy evangelistic church. He is the one who plans to make events, special emphasis, and weekly ministry purposefully gospel-centric and soul-winning centered.

Here are a few things we have done this fall:

  • In preparation for Trunk or Treat, I spent two Wednesday nights, nearly three hours in total, teaching how to share the gospel anywhere, anytime, with anyone, by memory. I know that has an edge of arrogance, but I’m the pastor. Equipping my congregation to share Christ is very important to me, so much so that I don’t entrust that to anyone, and my sweet people now know better than ever the passion I have for lost people and the ability to clearly and concisely share the gospel.
  • The Sunday before we all changed our clocks back (10/29), we went door-to-door giving away 9-volt batteries to encourage homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. We also invited people to Trunk or Treat and to our Christmas Worship Experiences.
  • Trunk or Treat was so amazing I recommended to our church that Halloween come twice a year. We didn’t have to run to the edge of darkness to engage lost people! Over 400 people came to us, played games in the church, took advantage of photo opportunities, and ate the food we served them. Amazing conversations took place, the gospel was shared, and new connections were made.
  • This Christmas our church motto is: Your Family Christmas Place! We have outdoor banners, a float in the town parade, invite cards (business card), and much more, that all look alike. We will distribute 100’s of invite cards to encourage people to participate in one of our exciting Christmas Worship Celebrations. During the parade we will give out 500 glow sticks with specialized invite cards that also match our theme/motto. Anyone can give a friend or coworker an invite to church. Within the next two weeks Thompson Falls will be saturated with the unmissable idea that First Baptist is the Family Christmas Place!
  • December 3rd is Light Up Thompson Falls Outreach. We will be going door-to-door giving families a battery-operated window candle reminding them Jesus is the light of the world….And…..it will have an attached invitation card!!!

What I described is our strategy to saturate the community and the beginning point of equipping people to share the gospel. If you are interested in a resource to help guide you to saturate your community, train people to share the gospel, and to be your ministry assistant to help you get evangelism on the front burner again I have just the thing for you! It’s the NAMB Evangelism Strategy Kit (E-Kit). It’s a great resource that will guide you, or if you would like, the E-Kit can be used to create an E-Team of people to support and assist you as you lead into your best days of reaching your community. It has a lot of resources to get you on the road to being a healthy growing evangelistic church. Let me know if you would like an E-Kit, I’ll get one out to you right away.

If I can assist you in any way to implement the E-Kit, I’d be happy to do so. It looks like we will have a group of pastors implementing the E-Kit in January. You are welcome to hop on the Gospel Bus with us! We will be doing some zoom conversations and connect by phone at times. Or perhaps you need someone to encourage and inspire some fresh hot-hearted passion into your people to recover their heart for the lost as we launch your evangelism strategy. Would a January Evangelism Banquet and training event help you get some evangelism in motion and movement in the church towards implementing an evangelism strategy? We can assist you or come alongside you in any way you’d like. Remember it’s only Good News if they hear it in time! Reach out to me at [email protected], lets visit about your next steps. How can I serve and assist you?

About the Author

Jeff Hessinger

Jeff Hessinger is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Thompson Falls and Evangelism Director for MTSBC.