EDITOR’S NOTE: “Love Your Neighbor/Share Christ” evangelism strategy is written and designed to assist you as a church leader in developing a contextualized strategy to carry out significant parts of the Great Commission, with a focus toward the evangelism part of it. The strategy employs six expressions, which are detailed in separate posts.
By Will McRaney, BCM/D Executive Missional Strategist
The fifth part of the overall evangelism model involves both bridging and harvesting efforts. Both parts are essential.
Bridging efforts are those efforts, which intentionally assist a lost person in both hearing and seeing the Gospel in action. We want to bridge lost people to ourselves, to other Christians, to the church as a whole and ultimately, we help bridge them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bridging efforts can be as informal as introducing your lost friend to other Christians in a home or a social gatherings around the normal flow of life. As the lost person is more ready to receive more, the efforts can involve inviting them to special programs of a small group or a special program at a corporate gathering of the church, such as a musical or even a community service type project.
[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”4″ position =”right” box_spacing =”10″ padding =”10″ background_color =”#EBF0F5″ border_width =”3″ border_color =”#336699″ border_style =”solid” ]GOALS/TARGETS:
1 Help church members bridge their lost friends to other Christians and to the church in appropriate ways and timing and with different levels of risk (from purely social to an actual harvest effort).
2 Help church members share their faith in intentional ways with people that surround them.
3 Churches and or ministries of the church such as Sunday Schools conduct harvesting efforts in both small and larger settings in a variety of ways.
4 Church–wide and individually think of bridging and harvest both at the facilities and also outside the facilities in the mission fields around them.
Luke 4:18-19, Acts 2:14-41, Luke 5:29-39, Luke 10:1-3, Matthew 10:1-42
• Invite a friend to a social gathering of a small group such as Sunday School class
• Invite a neighbor to a special program at the church such as Easter or Christmas
• Dinner group with two church couples and one to two non-churched couples
• Sports teams with half Christians and half non-Christians
• Special harvest events around seasons of the calendar
• Vacation Bible Schools and Backyard Bible Clubs
• Giving out Gospel tracts[/boxify]
The highest profile part of evangelism deals with the harvesting efforts. As a person is receptive through the Holy Spirit’s drawing, we engage them in both personal and corporate efforts that will give them opportunities to trust Christ. Paul writes about persuading others toward Christ. Done appropriately under the leading of the Holy Spirit, this is not only appropriate but a loving act toward them. However, persuasion outside the context of the drawing of the Holy Spirit may not be received well.
Harvesting efforts typically include both communicating clearly the Gospel message and also providing an invitation and opportunity for lost people to surrender their life to Christ. Harvest efforts can be provided by individuals, a small group within the church, or the church as a whole body. These efforts can take place either within the facilities of the church or outside.
Church members have a sphere of people they know. For each bridging and harvesting effort, the individual Christian will often do a mental assessment of the people they know to determine who they might invite to participate based on their perception of both the effort and their perception of whether or not the risk level matches some of their friends.
You will find additional information on our website, www.bcmd.org/loveyourneighbor. Tools will be there for your use in each area of the Expressions in various forms such as print, web, and video. You will find sermon starters, Sunday School lessons, and much more.