The weakest spiritual discipline of future church planters is…How would you finish that sentence?
We tend to think of church planters as entrepreneurial, action oriented guys, so you might name a discipline that requires great patience like prayer or fasting. But the surprising truth is that personal evangelism is often the weakest spiritual discipline of future planters. In the assessment tool that we (and many other networks use) potential planters consistently score lower in the category of personal evangelism than they do in any other category. Now most of us would admit that we have some room to grow in personal evangelism. If you’re anything like me your passion and vision for planting future churches can at times overshadow your commitment to personal evangelism in your present context.
But the importance of this discipline is magnified as a church planter because church culture tends to follow church leaders. That means your church will reflect your values; if you as a lead planter are intentionally reaching the unreached then your church is likely to do the same. But the opposite is also true, if you aren’t intentionally engaging the unreached its doubtful that your church will either. So maybe you want to plant a church that reaches the unreached, but your personal evangelism could use some work. What are some practical steps you can take to grow?
Here are three recommendations we give for growing in personal evangelism:
- Get Equipped.
- Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman is a great practical guide for sharing your faith
- Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels is another great resource
- Start Something.
- It’s amazing how much you can learn about church planting by starting an evangelistic Bible Study.
- Providential relationships with non-believers often develop as we ask God for them.
So Be Challenged because your personal evangelism will likely pass on to your church.
But Be Encouraged because most future church planters need to grow in this area and like any other discipline, personal evangelism can be developed.
Josh Miller (@joshmiller0604) is a Church Planting Catalyst with the Summit Network and serves on the Church Planting staff at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.