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                       "EVANGELISM MADE PERSONAL"


1. The importance of sharing the gospel with others cannot be
   a. Jesus wants everyone to hear the good news of salvation - Mk 16:
   b. He has provided the gospel as God's power to save all who believe
      - Ro 1:16-17

2. But what is the most effective way to reach people today?  The
   Institute For American Church Growth asked over 10,000 people this
   question:  "What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this
   church?" Their replies were:
   a. I had a special need - 3%
   b. I just walked in - 3%
   c. I liked the minister - 6%
   d. I visited there - 1%
   e. I liked the Bible classes - 5%
   f. I attended a gospel meeting - 0.5%
   g. I liked the programs - 3%
   h. A friend or relative invited me - 79%

3. What can we learn from a survey like this...?
   a. It confirms that gospel meetings as traditionally held have lost
      much of their effectiveness
   b. It justifies churches' concern to pick their preachers carefully
      and to give special regard to the quality of their Bible classes

4. The obvious point of the survey is this:  If churches are to grow, it
   will be through the efforts of individual members!
   a. Preachers, programs, classes may help, but in most cases they will
      only maintain the size of the congregation
   b. Such congregational efforts are worthwhile, however, for they can
      reach people with whom  we might otherwise never come in contact
   -- But the fact remains: The greatest potential lies with people who
      have some contact with members of the local congregation

5. Two things are needed to utilize contacts made through members of the
   a. Concern for the lost by those members - cf. Mt 9:36-38; Ro 9:1-3;
   b. Knowledge of how to increase opportunities to share the gospel

[Assuming the concern is there, this lesson contains three simple steps
to increase opportunities for sharing the gospel with relatives,
friends, neighbors, and others.  These steps are based on observations
of what has consistently proven fruitful in other places and are
confirmed by the results of the aforementioned survey. The first step is


      1. To confirm our claim to be disciples of Christ
         a. Correct doctrine, organization, worship, etc., are certainly
         b. Yet it is our love for one another that the Lord intended to
            convince the world that we are truly His disciples! - cf. Jn
      2. Our love makes us useful to the Lord
         a. From Re 3:7-8 we learn that the Lord knows the true
            condition of His churches, and that He will "open doors" for
            those that can be useful to Him.
         b. I am persuaded that if we are a church that can be used by
            Him to...
            1) Reach others with the gospel
            2) Assimilate them into the family of God
            3) Nurture them in their spiritual growth
            ...then He will "open doors" for us as well!
         c. Suppose we are not a place where new Christians can grow
            spiritually in an atmosphere of love?
            1) Do we seriously think that the Lord will use His
               providence to lead us to souls who are seeking for the
            2) Even if we did reach souls for Christ, would they receive
               the spiritual nourishment necessary to remain faithful
               and strong in the Lord's service?
      3. Hospitality towards Christians prepares us for the kind of
         personal work that is the most effective in leading others to
         a. I am referring to friendship evangelism, also known as
            relationship or lifestyle evangelism
         b. Which requires a willingness to be hospitable toward those
            we are trying to reach
         c. If we are unable (or unwilling) to practice hospitality
            towards our brethren, what makes us think we will practice
            it towards the lost?
      -- If we are going to be fruitful in the long run, we must make
         sure that we provide the right kind of loving and caring
         spiritual environment in the local church

      1. Get to know ALL the members and regular visitors by name
         a. Get a church directory and begin to place names with faces
         b. Try to learn someone new at each service until you know them
      2. Practice hospitality towards the members and regular visitors
         - 1Pe 4:8-9
         a. Invite them into your home, or out to eat (try one new
            family or member per month)
         b. Visit other Christians each week (esp. the sick, shut-ins,
            new members, those absent)
      3. Contribute your time, service, and resources to the church
         a. Offer to help in whatever way you can (teach, give, serve)
         b. Do not make others beg for help in providing a caring,
            spiritual environment
         c. Make an effort to be at every service, on time

[When a congregation is filled with loving members who care for and
edify its own, then I believe it is ready to be used by the Lord to
reach out and care for others!  Where does one begin in trying to reach
the lost? May I suggest that you...]


      1. It is a technique used by successful people in all walks of
         life (having a "things to do" list)
      2. It helps focus our attention upon those we hope to reach, and
         not neglect them

      1. Start with those who are close to you and work outwardly:
         a. Family, friends
         b. Neighbors, coworkers
         c. Relatives of fellow church members
         d. Regular visitors to the services of the church
         e. Casual acquaintances (mailman, store clerk, etc.)
      2. Limit this list to five or eight (too many and you will be
         unable to focus your efforts)
      3. Give priority to the "unchurched"
         a. I.e., who are not active members of any denomination or
            particular religion
         b. Active members of a denomination or religion are often very
            satisfied with their human
            traditions and are not as receptive to the pure and simple
            gospel of Christ
      4. Husbands and wives should probably have one list (as the
         suggestions to follow will
         require their joint cooperation)
      5. Keep this list where you will see it daily

      1. The importance of such prayers
         a. It is God who gives the increase when it comes to evangelism
            - 1Co 3:6-7
         b. We are but servants whom God can use in His providential
            workings - 1Co 3:5
         c. So though we may work as though it all depends upon us, let
            us pray as though it all depends upon God!
      2. What you should pray for:
         a. That God will work together with you:
            1) To give you opportunities to do good for them - Col 4:3
            2) To give you the wisdom to make the most of those
               opportunities - Col 4:4-6
            3) To give you boldness to say what needs to be said - Ep 6:
         b. That those on your list will have:
            1) Have the opportunity to hear the truth
            2) Have honest hearts to be open and receptive to the truth

[The third step is...]


      1. In the past, I might not have thought this to be important, but
         I now think differently
      2. Reasons for wanting people to attend church services:
         a. They will (should) have an opportunity to see a caring
            congregation in action
            1) Combined with your own demonstration of love as an
            2) ...the demonstration of love by others should make a
               lasting impression!
         b. They will more likely have an opportunity to be presented
            with the gospel (more on this, shortly)
         c. If they are attending regularly before conversion to Christ,
            they will more likely continue to attend after conversion

      1. First spend time in prayer:
         a. Asking for wisdom to invite them in the best manner
         b. Asking for boldness to offer the invitation to attend
      2. People will more likely accept your invitations:
         a. If they are among the unchurched
         b. If they are dissatisfied with where they are attending and
            are willing to investigate a different church
         c. If you have already been hospitable to them in various ways
      3. Be persistent:
         a. Invite time and again
         b. Your perseverance will more likely be rewarded

      1. Why this is important:
         a. By their presence, people are expressing an interest and/or
            willingness to learn
         b. By your love and acceptance, you are preparing the soil of
            their hearts for the seed of the gospel
         c. The Lord has provided "an open door"; dare we not take it?
      2. How to show hospitality toward visitors:
         a. Be friendly to all, whether invited by you, someone else, or
            are simply walk-ins
         b. Arrive early for services
            1) Visitors are more likely to arrive early, and leave early
            2) If you come in late, you may not have an opportunity to
         c. Give priority to visiting with guests over visiting with
            1) You can always visit with brethren later
            2) This may the only opportunity to make an impact with the
        d. In extending hospitality, do what is within your ability:
            1) Greet them, letting them know they are welcome
            2) Invite them home or out for a dinner or snack
            3) Call, write, or visit them after they have attended the

      1. Why this is important:
         a. Only the Gospel is God's power to save - Ro 1:16
         b. While love and hospitality may help prepare the soil, the
            seed must still be sown
      2. Presenting the gospel of Christ:
         a. Ideally, this will come after witnessing a demonstration of
            the gospel in our lives
            1) By our love, hospitality, etc.
            2) Both as individuals and as a congregation
         b. If you feel confident in discussing it with them, then
            approach them yourself and suggest some sort of Bible study.
            I have found either of the two suggestions effective:
            1) A Bible study with them in their home (using aids like
               video tapes, charts, or simply an open Bible)
            2) That they study on their own:
               a) With the aid of a Bible correspondence course
               b) By viewing a video Bible study series
         c. If you do not feel you are yet confident in approaching them
            concerning a study, or in conducting it your self, there is
            still much good that you can do:
            1) Bring it to the attention of members who are able and
               willing to teach
            2) Provide opportunities for teacher and prospect to become
               better acquainted, and the teacher can take it from there


1. These suggestions are offered...
   a. With a firm conviction that if they will be carried out,
      opportunities to share the gospel and save souls will be greatly
   b. With the hope that you will accept the challenge to
      implement these suggestions

2. This approach is not only the most successful in saving and keeping
   souls, it is also one of the most natural and easiest ways to reach
   the lost for Christ...
   a. Remember the survey by The Institute For American Church Growth?
   b. One does not even have to be able to teach to be effective in
      leading others to Christ!
   c. One simply has to be a friend to Christians and to the lost!

3. Even if we do not convert a single soul...
   a. We will have fulfilled our obligation to share Christ with others
   b. We will have done it in such a way as to become:
      1) Better Christians, a better congregation
      2) Better friends, better neighbors, better coworkers!

Are you doing what you can to reach out to the lost...?
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