By Dr. Will McRaney, BCM/D Executive Missional Strategist
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 different expressions, which are detailed in separate posts.
A second Expression of both love and evangelism involves enjoying and serving lost people, especially those lost people you are praying for by name. This would be the next step for a believer to engage a lost person.
Part of the engagement is attitudinal, that being one of enjoying. Jesus modeled this for us with His life. He enjoyed being around people who did not know Him as their Messiah. In fact the background for the well-known stories of Luke 15 is the accusation and fact that Jesus was welcoming and dining with sinners.
Lost people are not just persons who are targets. They are people who God created and therefore have value because of His love and care for them. As people of value to God, we have to engage them in order to share Christ with them and tell them how much their God has done for their salvation should they accept it.
[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 Encourage and plan for individuals and your small group ministries to follow Christ’s example by engaging lost people in winsome ways.
2 Encourage and plan for individuals and your small group ministries to demonstrate the love of Christ by serving and helping those without Christ in practical ways.
Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 15:1-2;
Acts 3:1-10; Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 9:35-36; Matthew 10:42; Philippians 2:6
• Have individuals do an act of service for a neighbor, friend or co-worker who needs Christ.
• Have small groups do a service toward a lost person or persons once a month or once every two months.
• Conduct a social gathering (once a month or once every couple of months) that is a safe environment to invite a friends that do not know Christ to casually meet other Christians.
• Plan a dinner for 8 – casual in home or a night out – including two church couples and two couples without Christ.
• Discover needs of your community by surveying them after a prayer walk in the area.
• Serving Lost People includes everything from next-door neighbor to neighbor outreach (mowing the lawn when they are away, helping when someone is sick, simple “neighborliness”—cookies, or some seasonal “gift,” etc.), Church Community Projects (for example, Thanksgiving and Christmas give-a-ways, dinner baskets, etc), disaster relief, and church-sponsored community services (for example, Dental Clinic, Medical Clinic, Counseling, Marriage Seminars, Divorce Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, etc.).
• Plan corporate ways and encourage personal ways to have Christians reach the lost, especially those they are praying for, with acts of service.[/boxify]
Enjoying lost people includes engaging, befriending and welcoming those without Christ.
Jesus consistently engaged those who did not have faith in Him, those who were social elites, social outcasts, religious and non-religious. While Jesus was without sin, He stepped out of heaven to engage the world, each of whom was sinful and had rebelled against Him.
Not only do we pray for lost people and enjoy being with them in the love of Christ, we also have the opportunity to demonstrate the message of Christ by finding practical ways to serve them. Jesus engaged people with an air of comfort and then often met them at their point of need, be it physical, emotional, relational or spiritual. Paul instructed Christians to not only look out for my needs, but also the needs of others in an attitude of service.
By engaging lost people with an attitude of enjoyment and also with actions of service, we increase their receptivity to us and prayerfully, the Gospel as well. Lost people often will need time to consider the claims of Christ and will consider them as they have a Christian around them they connect with and who is living out their faith with credibility in service to them and others.
Pleasant View strives to make every Sunday like Super Bowl Sunday
Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Md., has a four-fold evangelism strategy: get outside the walls; get people in the worship service to experience Jesus; make sure every worship service is like Super Bowl Sunday; and get everyone involved in a ministry.
Senior Pastor Harold Phillips said the church is always in the community, marching in parades, manning booths at fairs, participating in 5K races to benefit crisis pregnancy centers and serving food to the local high school football team on Friday nights.
“When people come up with ideas and things they want to do, that God has burdened them to do, we empower them and let them do it,” Phillips said.
As the church ministers in the community and friends and neighbors respond to invitations to visit, the church makes sure it is ready to receive and welcome those precious guests.
“Our greeters are trained. That’s their job. When people walk through the door we want them to feel like someone cares about them, that they get a hand shake and know where to go.”
Everyone serving takes their calling seriously, Phillips said. Sunday school teachers are prepared. Praise and worship teams have practiced. The choir is “geared up.” “Everybody makes it the best we can for the Lord and we ask God to bless what we’ve put together,” Phillips said. –Sharon Mager
Oak Grove goes to the neighborhood
Oak Grove Baptist Church in Bel Air, Md., learned a lesson. For many Easter celebrations, they held block parties on their church property, inviting guests to come for a free family experience. But after awhile, they felt they were not reaching a lot of unsaved people. So instead, they moved the block party away from the church and to a host home in the neighborhood. There, a lot of children and their families showed up to play games and enjoy the fun. And best of all: “They heard the Gospel,” said Pastor David Hall.
LakeView Church ‘Lives 2 Share Jesus’
Using the illustration of a cardboard testimony, Pastor Roger Rich of LakeView Community Church in Frederick, Md., contemplated the true mission of his church. On one side of a piece of cardboard, he wrote his current reality: “Doing church.” On the second side, he wrote where he felt God was leading the church: “Living in Jesus.” Out of that exercise became the church members’ individual and collective mission: “Living 2 Share Jesus.”
“I was kind of tired of doing church and playing inside four walls,” shared Rich. “We really need to be out and living and reaching people and touching lives of people who need Jesus Christ.” He explained, “So that’s what we wanted to do at LakeView: be a church; be a people that were not tied to four walls, into committees, into all the various structures of churches that man created. We are a church, a fellowship, a family that is living Jesus out in the community.”
Rich teaches his congregation to serve “Kingdom In” (ministering to the people inside the church) and “Kingdom Out” (intentionally sharing Christ in activities in which members are involved).
Rich serves as a high school football coach, which gives him the opportunity to display Christ on an ongoing basis with those outside the church. In similar fashion, he urges church members to do “Kingdom Out” ministry, serving as Christ ambassadors wherever their normal activities take them. For example, a couple with kids in youth sports can practice “Sports 101.” “For around 13 years, you’ll be spending time with a lot of the same people,” he said. “Use what you are already doing and intentionally build relationships and look for opportunities to share Christ.” — Written by Shannon Baker
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.