July 21st conference set to reinvigorate the Great Commission and give believers tools for sharing their faith.
Many Christians struggle with the commandment to go out and evangelize the world, but they would be surprised to find out their pastor feels the same way.
Writing on his blog post, Pastor Chuck Lawless, Dean and Vice-President of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. says it’s true.
“Evangelism is a central task of the Great Commission, but many churches don’t do well at this task. In fact,” says Lawless, “Many pastors don’t evangelize that much.”
Lawless says that there are many reasons churches and pastors specifically may seem ineffectual at the Great Commission. Number one he says is we all get cocooned inside our churches. “It’s hard tough to reach non-believers when you don’t know any.” Also, Lawless says that many people don’t feel a natural propensity for outreach.
On Friday, July 21 in Kansas City, there is an opportunity designed to assist and encourage church leaders and all believers with the steps necessary to be bold yet loving for Christ and mobilize congregations to be engaged in personal evangelism. Regardless of church size or budget, the Right Now conference is for any Christian wanting to be more effective at sharing the love of Jesus with a lost and hurting world. The conference runs from 9am – 4pm, with check-in at 8am. It will be held at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapel, 5001 N Oak Trafficway, Kansas City. The $15 cost includes continental breakfast, lunch, and leader resource pack.
Research shows that plenty of people want to share their faith but need encouragement to do so.
A Barna Research study reported, “When asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73 percent of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice, however, the numbers shift downward. Only half (52 percent) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
With so little effort toward sharing the Gospel Message of hope, love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, it’s no wonder our society as a whole has steadily declined from it’s early biblical roots over the years. Christians are silent and simply being out numbered.
Steve Dighton, founding pastor of Lenexa Baptist Church couldn’t agree more. “Evangelism is the lifeblood of the church, for when evangelism ceases the church dies a quick death.”
And yet, pastors are struggling with sharing their faith outside of a large church setting, Lawless says, often getting out of balance between ministering to dysfunctional church members and pastoring the flock instead of looking for the lost.
For other pastors, they see the pulpit as the most effective means of evangelism. But that requires seeking individuals to actually find the church. For most of the world, that just isn’t gonna happen.
Thom Rainer, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources posed this question to his nearly 250k Twitter followers, “Why do you think many churches aren’t as evangelistic as they once were?” Hundreds of responses poured in and were highly informative.
Here are the top fifteen responses in order of frequency:
- Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
- Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
- Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
- We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
- Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
- Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
- Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
- Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
- Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
- Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
- Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
- Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
- Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
- Some churches have theological systems that do not encourage evangelism.
- Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.
It’s clear fewer and fewer Christians are intentionally and personally sharing their faith in Christ. This does not change the directive believers are given to do the work of an evangelist. The Church must be careful not to confuse church attendance and service in the church with personal and intentional evangelism.
Steve Barnes, Founder of 1millionstories.org and Connections Pastor at Lenexa Baptist Church, is passionate about encouraging pastors, ministry leaders and individual Christians to not only overcome the fears of sharing Christ but to encourage and mobilize The Church to do what is necessary to reach their communities in creative ways.
“We’re all guilty of missed opportunities. Allowing our fears and excuses to keep us from sharing Christ has one result, people breathing their last breath without a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ,” he states. “Whether a pastor, ministry leader or individual, we must be willing to learn what we need to know, practice what we need to say, and use any means possible to share the love of Jesus.”
If The Church is going to make strides here in the United States as it does in other countries around the world, believers need to develop a deep sense of urgency and passion for the lost, overcome their fears and apprehensions, and assist others in doing the same.
Cost for the conference is only $15 per person, breakfast and lunch included. More information at www.1MillionStories.org/RightNow.
–By Dwight Widaman
TOPICS AND SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
TOPIC: Urgency, The Time is Now | Sujo John: 9/11 Survivor, Evangelist, Founder of YouCanFreeUs, a human trafficking rehabilitation non-profit. Sujo John survived from the 81st floor of the North Tower on 9/11. He will share his experience during those horrific events, how he made it to ground level, and pointed others to Christ. He now challenges Christians to be intentional and passionate about sharing Jesus.
TOPIC: Creating an Evangelism Culture | Pastor Chad McDonald: Senior Pastor, Lenexa Baptist Church. Human nature causes Christians to migrate to an inward focus that ultimately leads us down a path where we forget about those who need Jesus most. Maintaining or establishing an outward focus is an ongoing challenge in the life of every Christian. In this session, Pastor Chad McDonald will provide insight and actionable steps to help you keep the evangelism fervor as a Christian, church or ministry organization.
TOPIC: Reaching the Unreached | Pastor Christian Newsome: Founder and Senior Pastor of Journey Church International in Lee’s Summit. A recent study states 35% of Millennials do not believe in God and have no desire to affiliate with any kind of organized religion. Their called the “Nones.” In this session, Newsome will guide you into better understanding who the unreached people groups are and how Christians can be more effective at connecting with those in need of Jesus Christ.
TOPIC: People Matter | Pastor Steve Dighton: Founding pastor of Lenexa Baptist Church Dighton will provide insight to having a real sense of passion and concern for those inside and outside the church that create avenues for sharing the Gospel and develop life-lasting relationships.
TOPIC: Engaging in the Local Community | Pastor Chris Williams, Pastor of Fellowship Greenwood in Greenwood, MO, Conference Speaker Having a good reputation in your local community adds credibility and opens doors to sharing the Gospel message. Williams will share how his congregation has developed a special relationship with their community and city that continues to allow them to share Christ’s love and make greater impact. He will equip you and your church to do the same.
TOPIC: Tools & Techniques for Making Disciples | Pastor Brandon Park: Senior Pastor of Raytown Baptist Church in Raytown, Founder of LifeCoach Discipleship When thinking of discipleship, all too often churches miss the mark. Christians may get connected to a Bible study or small group but never “graduate.” In this session Park will provide step-by-step tools and techniques for making true disciples of Jesus Christ.
TOPIC: High Tech High Touch Evangelism | Pastor Steve Barnes: Founder of 1MiilionStories.Org, an Online Evangelism Tool and Community Most Christians don’t actively share their faith in Christ. Why not? We confuse serving in the church with true evangelism or have allowed feelings of fear and inadequacy to creep in. In this session Barnes will encourage and equip Christians an leaders to break through the false barriers that bind us and get engaged in intentional evangelism with one simple
For more information, go to www.1MillionStories.org or call Steve Barnes at 913-579-4225