By Vince Williams
July 9, 2009
With the heat of summer pounding it is easy to forget how close Fall is around the corner. For many churches the Fall season means an evangelistic series or outreach campaign—a stressful event for many pastors. A well run campaign takes time, resources, and even more time. The good news is that with a little help and a solid plan, by getting started early you can create an effective campaign that draws people in hungry to hear the Good News.
We can’t promise it will be a stress-free event. But here are 5 suggestions for creating an effective evangelism campaign:
- Remember why you are doing the series. The Great Commission makes it clear that your church is called to go into the world and share the gospel. Just remember that the fuel for the Great Commission is the Great Commandment, to love one another. We must be hungry to love our community and each person in it. It is only with that love that we can show them who God really is in our own lives.
- Involve everyone. A good campaign that reaches your community harnesses the spiritual gifts of every church member. Give them a clear vision for the event, and delegate key roles to trusted leaders. Members need opportunities to help with the event, and also need tools for inviting friends and neighbors. Start advertising the event internally before you start any external marketing. This will help them be prepared to talk about the event to others and answer questions from anyone who asks.
- Take the long view. It is easy to define success by focusing on baptisms or professions of faith, but it is important to remember that a deepening relationship with Christ is a life-long pursuit. Our goal is not just to add members, but to guide people toward a life of change in Christ. For some, the initial steps will come quickly. For others it will take time. Either way, our patience toward everyone will be a blessing to anyone who attends your series.
- Throw a big net. Drawing someone from the comforts of home and the distractions of the world into a community of faith is simply a miracle. God is working on every heart, and there are some right now ready to act. But they need to hear about the opportunity you’re offering. So give as many people as possible an invitation to join you.To be most effective, start planning your marketing efforts at least 7 weeks before opening night. Some areas benefit from radio and TV placement; others don’t. Outdoor billboards can be quite effective. Most importantly, after hearing from pastors and evangelists with years of experience it is clear that mailers frequently have the highest rate of success. Whatever you do make sure it has a chance to succeed by giving it the proper attention. (Here is a previous article about successful mailings.)
- Leave it in God’s hands. Evangelism is God’s plan. He invites us to join Him in His work. So pray that radical prayer in Luke 10:2, asking to be thrown out into His harvest. We need to do everything we can to ensure an effective series, but in the end success really means that we followed God’s lead in reaching out to people. Don’t be defined by the outcome, but by how far you stepped out for His purposes.