My eyes scanned the clutter that lay before me. If a clean desk is the
sign of a sick mind, as the little plaque in my secretarys office
suggested, then I could be the poster boy for mental health, I
thought. In one pile were calls to return. Three other stacks represented
unfinished sermons. Scrawled on a pad were the names of people who were illtwo
in the hospital and several at home. My planner lay open, revealing too many
scheduled meetings. Finally my gaze fell on those important prospect cards
representing people who had indicated a spiritual interest.
In moments like this I feel like a fire fighter who arrives at a five-alarm
blaze equipped with only a water pistolvery inadequate! If Im not careful, my
desire for the church to be on mission can self-destruct in five seconds to
that of "mission impossible."
Most pastors, if we are honest, will confess to moments of feeling
overwhelmed. Our greatest desire is for the church we are called to lead to be
intentionally evangelistic. We pray, organize and preach with the dream of
seeing many come to Christ. However, on days when there seems to be more
schedule than time, the vision appears to be a mirage.
How can a pastor realize the dream of leading an on mission church? He needs
help. Not the kind of help represented by time management gurus. Even if a
pastor could manage to return all the calls, visit all those who are ill,
attend all the meetings and share Christ with each prospect, it would not
result in an on mission church. It would only produce an on-the-go pastor.
The help a pastor needs is in abundant supply: active church members. People
are the greatest resource a pastor has in realizing his dream of leading an
on mission church. How can church members help?
1. Volunteer to do whatever you can.
"Pastor, Im tired of being dead weight, I want to do something," Millie told
me. She sounded exasperated.
"But I cant teach, and I cant sing."
I grinned. "Millie, what is it you like to do?"
Her brow furrowed as she thought.
"Oh, pastor, you know I really enjoy visiting folks and cheering them
"Well, you know, Millie, there is a way you can do exactly what you like and
help me out."
"How?" Millie asked.
"You could contact visitors."
A church member can do many things to help the pastor that in turn
contributes to the church being on mission: writing notes to guests, being a
greeter for services, calling visitors and answering their questions the list
goes on and on.
2. Sanctify your hobbyuse it for evangelism.
"Pastor, can you spare a minute? Ive got an idea."
Smiling, I replied, "Sure, Bill, whats on your mind?"
He was thinking about organizing some of the men into fishing teams, pairing
them up with the goal of inviting non-Christian men to go fishing with them
"You know how I love to fish, and with two of us from the church in the
boat, maybe well catch more than fish."
A wide grin signaled my approval.
Bills idea has been a hit and involves many men in the church.
A hobby can be a springboard to enhance the evangelism efforts. Involving
others can also give you confidence to share your faith as well.
3. Be creative in supporting existing church outreach
Mindy, Debbie and Karen are mothers of preschoolers. They wanted to be
involved in the churchs outreach, but their hectic days of chasing kids left
them drained in the evening.
They developed an innovative way not only to be involved in evangelism but
also to enjoy a once-a-week mothers day out. One of the three watches the kids
and the other two drop by the church, pick up prospect cards and visit people.
If someone is not at home, they leave a nice handwritten note. They end their
weekly outreach efforts with a cup of coffee at a quiet restaurant.
Supplying names, conducting surveys, volunteering to help in the nursery
during outreach events or preparing sandwiches for those who visit prospects
are all ways to support and encourage the ministry of evangelism through your
4. Invite, invite, invite.
A pastor friend in Texas told me: "If the members of my church would simply
invite their relatives, their friends, their neighbors, their co-workers, their
enemiesanybodyit would be a great help to our outreach efforts."
Ten-year-old Zach had been urging his neighbor to attend church with him for
some time. When the church con-ducted a "Friend Day," he once again asked her
to come as his guest. This time Marie accepted Zachs invitation.
On the big day Zach beamed as he introduced his guest. During the service he
encouraged Marie to fill out a guest registration card, which she did. The
following week, a couple participating in the churchs outreach ministry visited
Marie. In Maries living room, they shared the gospel, and she committed her
life to Christ.
When Marie stood before the church making public her faith in Christ, at her
side was Zach, the one she feels is most responsible for her coming to know
Him. She is so grateful Zach kept inviting her to church!
Surveys show that people will come to church if they are simply invited by
someone they know.
5. Do your part to make things happen.
Anita noticed the increasing number of Hispanics moving into her
neighborhood. In time, she began to experience a burden to do something to
share Christs love with her new neighbors.
First, she thought a Spanish-speaking mission was the answer. But when Anita
approached her pastor with the idea, she learned that beginning a mission is a
long process taking months or longer. Not wanting to wait or rely on others to
do what she felt the Lord had placed on her heart, Anita decided to meet some
of her new neighbors. She discovered an interest among the adults to learn
Anita began to pray about how she could help to meet their desire to learn a
new language which could open doors for them in their new community. A few
weeks later, Anita attended a mission event sponsored by her local association
and was introduced to the concept of literacy missions.
Anita received training. Her church provided space for her new ministry, and
now Hispanics in the area not only have the opportunity to learn English but
they are also introduced to Christ.
6. Dont view prayer as a clich.
Nancy was debilitated years ago when an illness paralyzed the entire left
side of her body. After struggling with self-pity, she decided to focus her
energy on prayer. When I became her pastor, Nancy made it clear that she would
be my prayer warrior. All I had to do was share my need, and she was committed
to coming before the Lord on my behalf.
Nancy also prays specifically for those the church is seeking to reach with
the gospel. In addition, she hosts a weekly prayer meeting where she and other
members spend hours interceding for on mission efforts of the
Jimmy Patterson, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Sanford, Florida, said:
"The greatest thing a church member can do for me regarding evangelism is to
pray for me. Not only will their prayers help keep evangelism a priority in my
life, but it will also give them a burden for the lost."
Prayer is an activity in which every church member can participate. It
requires no special training or qualification, only a sincere heart willing to
intercede for others. Approach your pastor about how you can pray for him and
watch his reaction.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville,
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC