Todd and Sheila Alewine will be the speakers for our upcoming webinar on July 30, 2020 @ 2pm. Register for free here.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
A common misconception that every pastor has to sort out with his congregation is the idea that leading people to Christ is largely his responsibility. Many people believe that if a person comes to the point of committing their life to Christ, they need to “meet with the pastor” to make it official. We know that’s not true. According to Paul, it’s not just the pastor’s responsibility to lead people to Jesus, or even to bear the full weight of equipping new believers. The body grows and works as God intended it to when we all use our gifts to equip one another.
Evangelism is one area where the church in general has failed to equip believers. How do we know this? Let me ask you a question. When was the last time someone approached you about what you believe? How long as it been since someone struck up a conversation with you and you could tell immediately, they intended to steer the dialogue toward spiritual things?
We talk a lot about how to talk about Jesus, but are we really talking about Jesus?
If the pastor is the only one in the church who is consistently seeking to share the gospel, your church’s influence in the community will be minimal. But consider how impactful it would be if every member were confidently equipped and actively sharing their faith with the people right around them – those individuals with whom they live, work, and play?
We believe sharing the gospel can be a simple, practical lifestyle as we learn to pray for our neighbors, friends, classmates, and co-workers first, engaging God before we engage the lost. As we pray for people by name, God gives us His heart for them. If we ask Him, He will set up those “divine meetings” that we could never arrange on our own, at just the right time and place. We will have opportunities to serve others, and begin to share our faith story, with the goal of inviting them to Christ.
Your church building may be located in a residential neighborhood with a few dozen to a few hundred homes surrounding it, but the truth is, your church body is already planted by God’s sovereign will in the midst of homes all across your city. Equipping your people to share the gospel right where they live is the way to impact the most people, in the most effective way.
And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)
God is a master planner. Your church exists because someone heard God call them to your city and connected them with other believers who had the same heart for the people around them. Your church grew because God called others into the kingdom and led them to your church body to grow in their faith, serve, and be equipped as a disciple of Jesus. It’s not accidental where they live. God has planted them where He intends for them to share the gospel, just as He planted you where you are. He determines the boundaries of our habitation, and the times of our lives, because He has gifted us to share with the people around us.
We don’t have to lead the whole world to Jesus, but we do have an obligation and responsibility to share with the people God has put in our lives on a regular basis. The best church growth plan is to equip every saint to live on mission, right where they are.
Equip the saints, and you will evangelize your city one neighborhood at a time.
Todd and Sheila Alewine live on mission in North Carolina, where they lead Around The Corner Ministries, an equipping ministry to help every believer learn to share the gospel confidently, effectively and consistently where they live, work and play. Visit aroundthecornerministries.org for more information.
Todd and Sheila will be the speakers for our upcoming webinar on July 30, 2020 @ 2pm. Register for free here.