Every church should make evangelism a ministry priority. But getting organized and strategic is the challenge! Here’s my recommendation: Start with at least one initiative in each of the eight areas outlined below, even if it’s just one small effort at the beginning. Then set annual goals in each area as resources become available. Variety and balance are the ultimate goals!
1. Visibility ministries.
Many churches are their communities’ best kept secret! Visibility ministries allow the church to be “visible” in the community through publicity, signage, and caring efforts.
2. Compassion ministries.
These ministries mobilize the church family to demonstrate God’s love in practical ways in the community, focusing on food and clothing distribution, crisis financial assistance, public school tutoring, community cleanup projects, and so forth.
3. Way-of-life ministries.
Through workshops, Sunday School classes, or small groups, these ministries seek to train people to share Christ in the context of their everyday relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
4. Harvesting ministries.
These ministries focus on specifically sharing the content of the gospel and encouraging salvation decisions through ministries like evangelistic Bible studies, door-to-door contacts, and evangelistic services.
5. Discipleship ministries.
Two main categories make up discipleship ministries: the initial follow-up of new believers as they are grounded in the faith, and upper-level discipleship ministries for believers who have laid the necessary foundation and who desire to grow toward maturity.
6. Assimilation ministries.
These ministries relate to the church’s desire to assimilate people into the membership and ministry of the church. They focus on efforts to “grow” people from being visitors to committed, serving members in the church.
7. Special-event ministries.
These are single, onetime outreach events such as Christmas and Easter programs, Mother’s and Father’s Day events, church open houses, and Friend Days.
8. Target ministries.
These ongoing ministries specifically target a segment of the community that can be reached with the gospel. For example, churches in college communities can target students. Other churches could target senior adults, fire and police personnel, international students, the homeless, or businesspeople.
Jim Vogel (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) was a pastor for 30 years before becoming associate national representative of the GARBC.