Archive for the ‘Church Growth’ Category

There is a need for a ministry, denominational funded urban city evangelism strategy. This strategy should mobilize committed soul winners, to work alongside churches, to mentor and equip Christians/churches across the US landscape to intentionally evangelize people of all walks of life. Why?

Studies show people are moving back into the cities, the majority are lost and without Christ. I have a strategy to mobilize, equip and reach lost people with the gospel.

In one article published by USA Today, March 27, 2014, the population shift can be seen. [1]

A new merchant in the East Harbor section of downtown Baltimore was begging people to shop at his establishment. “Young people are not going to make that plunge to a suburban house because they think there’s risk to it,” he says. “And on top of that, they can’t afford the down payment.”

There are some churches and organizations starting new church work in Baltimore. But as one expert in evangelism and strategy, who was the denominational leader in the state, said, “if you start a new church in an inner/urban community and you invite individuals, addicted to heroin and other drugs, they are not going to attend your church.”

“Harbor East symbolizes a population shift taking place across the nation, reflected in new data released today by the Census Bureau. It finds that population growth has been shifting to the core counties of the USA’s 381 metro areas, especially since the economic recovery began gaining steam in 2010. Basically, the USA’s urban core is getting denser, while far-flung suburbs watch their growth dwindle.”

William Frey, a demographer at Washington’s Brookings Institution, a research and policy group, stated, “People are hanging tough in urban areas,” he says. “Some of them are going to stay there for the long term. The trend also is driven by increasing numbers of young people delaying or foregoing marriage and childbirth, which often prompt moves to the suburbs.

Frey says many outlying suburbs once grew in spite of whether the cities they orbited were thriving. Now, he says, the equation is changing. If exurbs are “part of a prosperous region” like Washington, D.C., they’ll survive. If not, he says, “Those places aren’t going to come back.”

So what should the strategy look like? The strategy should be comprehensive and include, a three step plan to equip, evangelism and gathering new believers into new churches. I have developed and tweaking and using such a plan. Mission teams of trained men, have resulted in thousands of professions of faith.

The weakest link to evangelism is always follow up. Most churches in the inner cities are not ready to take in the harvest when God provides it. This is why new church starts should be equip in this strategy.

Over the span of fifteen plus years, I have personally mentored numerous men and women, and some youth, how to evangelize in the inner city.  The team members on these inner-city mission teams are committed Christians who are still using this plan, in their locations.

There are men who are ready to go and lead by example how to engage lost people with the gospel and how to transition into a decision for Christ. We just need the funding to mobilize the team.

If you are any other organization is interested in helping us mobilize trained soul winners who can mentor others contact me. In the meantime, thousands of people are being misled, and dying who headed for an eternal hell.

M28evangelism.com/ M28evangelism@gmail.com

Other articles on young people moving back into the cities:

  1. Why Young College Grads Returned to American Downtowns in the …

https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/02/urban-revival-america-college…/470415/

Feb 23, 2016 –

  1. Why Millennials Still Move to Cities – Newsweek

http://www.newsweek.com/2015/…/why-cities-hold-more-pull-millennials-cloud-317735.ht…

Mar 30, 2015 –

  1. Back to the City – Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2010/05/back-to-the-city

  1. So Are People Moving Back to the City or Not? – CityLab

https://www.citylab.com/design/2011/11/so-are-people-moving-back-city-or…/487/

Nov 14, 2011 –

  1. More Americans Moving to Cities, Reversing the Suburban Exodus …

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/…moving-to-cities…/359714/

Mar 27, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

[1] See below for more links on population shifts into the cities.

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I am a believer in using a demographic study of your community to help develop a plan for evangelizing your community. A demographic study is a key component in discovering who lives in your community. What areas in your community are unchurched? A demographic study will reveal what pockets in your community needs a Bible group that could become a church. Statistics are good in shaping an evangelism strategy. But Statistics are not an evangelism approach. Statistics are what they are.

Personal evangelism is about connecting, and engaging people with the gospel through personal relationships. Without personal, evangelism God’s kingdom is not being advanced. Without personal, evangelism God’s church is not impacting the community by seeing lost people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Get your demographic study in hand. Get your statistics in hand and then through prayer and seeking God, craft your strategy for evangelizing your community. Then train your church in an evangelistic approach that will give the hearers an opportunity to turn and trust, to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. As Jesus proclaimed, “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish,” Luke 13:3-5. “He who has ears, let him hear,” Mark 4:9.

Jesus Christ gave us the mission, to “Go make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19-20. We get our vision from God’s heart. We are empowered by God’s Spirit to go and evangelize. I say we get back to the basics. Let’s get back to God’s word, and take Him at His word. “Go make disciples by evangelizing lost people with the gospel.

If you read God’s Word daily, He is teaching you all you need to live the Christian life, to be his witness, in Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Here are some questions to ponder:  How long have you been a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you a witness for Jesus? How much many more Bible studies classes, or books on “how to live the Christian life do you need to read?

As you read the Bible, as you are daily studying the Bible, God’s Spirit is teaching you God’s word. Now you need to go and take God at His word.   Most Christians have learned enough, and probably know more of God’s teachings, principles, and have more copies of God’s word than the first century Church. When will God’s church start being the “Going Church” Jesus commanded us to be? (Matthew 28:19-20)

Saul of Tarsus, a rabbi, and a member of Israel’s Sanhedrin Council, when on Damascus Road, had an encounter with Jesus Christ and was saved. Paul asked, “What do You want me to do?” Jesus told Saul, later called apostle Paul, that he would take the gospel to the world. (Acts 9:6) Jesus responded, “Arise and go into the city and you will be told what to do.” (Acts 9:6)

Jesus has instructed, us the church to go and make disciples. I asked the church in a sermon on Sunday, “What is the mission of the Church?” I shared, Our mission is the Great Commission according to Jesus’ words, command, and mandate. Our mission is twofold. First, Jesus has instructed us to “Go.” This can be understood as intentional evangelism, as intentional proclamation, and intentionally making Jesus known to the world. Second, we are to teach, new believers Jesus teachings, Jesus is the Logos, God’s Word.

Evangelism is basically, part of the disciple-making process. Lost people do not know they are in a Bible study group when you are sharing biblical truths with them. We evangelize, God’s word penetrates to their very soul, and the Spirit works in their heart, bringing change, with the purpose of transformation by salvation and a new person inside and out.

The day after I was saved I went to work, never having taken a soul winning course and I began to share what God had done in my life. I had placed my faith in Jesus. A dear friend led me in a sinner’ prayer. I thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I asked Jesus into my heart and acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior. No one told me to go and begin telling others how God had changed my life. I was so overjoyed that I could not contain the joy of it all.

So, let go, and let God use you. Let’s go and turn this world upside down in Jesus name. (Acts 17:6)

If your Church is interested in having Evangelism Training, Evangelistic preaching, Revival, Prayerwalking and follow-up with new believers, go to http://m28evangelism.com/.

Go order gospel tracts go to http://www.billygrahambookstore.org/CustomModule.asp?pageid=30

I have experience as an Evangelism Pastor, National Coordinator, Training, Author, and Consultant, (ten plus years) working on a church staff, denominational staff, and parachurch evangelistic association. I have taught, mentored pastors and church leaders how to start and have a witnessing conversation. I have led mission teams into the inner cities of America to partner with inner city churches to engage their communities with the gospel. I have taught and continue to teach classes on evangelism and dynamics, principles, and methods of evangelism.

But, sadly, over the last ten years, and especially the last six years, I have seen a major departure of the mandate for evangelism Jesus Christ gave to the church. Having served on a national mission agency, our team, conducted research on a monthly and annually and reviewed results of the decline of churches, across the American landscape. We saw a severe decline in churches making evangelism, less of an overall key component or part of the Church DNA. The result was fewer and fewer individuals from outside the church and inside the church making the decision to surrender to Jesu Christ as Lord and Savior. This has impacted baptisms since 1974.

Currently, the condition of all mainline denominations in North America is, they are all on or headed to being on a critical condition list. All the while the cults, for instance, Mormonism, Watch Tower, continue to grow. Islam is on a spike and not just growing in the number of Mosques built, but the number of political positions being now filled by Muslims in the United States.

Several years ago, we saw a trend in North America. The churches cut out the Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism. In the last two to three years, this same practice is being fleshed out at the state and national level as well. All the while, America is going to “hell” at an ever increasing rate. It seems almost daily, we hear on the news or read in an online newspaper of yet another decision by our government or official, or community leader, or church leader who has decided to go against God’s plan, God’s instruction book, the Bible how we are to live and relate to God.

Noticing the void created by the absence of the Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism, I have contacted denominational leadership about working as a contractor on a limited basis with their churches. As we discuss the fee or payment options, I have negotiated a monthly or a daily rate,  to consult with pastors one or two days a month. Having conducted my research, I have noticed the rate compared to other industries is, should I say, just a fraction. But in a world of survival, and using my expertise and years of educational training, I tell myself to be grateful, and I am.

In communication with one denominational leader, after communicating with his pastors, he responded. “There is not as much of an interest in us adding to our current budget, though there are great respect and admiration for your skill set and leadership. I appreciate you offering to add a level of depth to our Associations and for your passion for Evangelism.”

But we must consider why churches do not have a budget for evangelism. The reason churches have less money these days is a direct result of a lack of evangelism, evangelistic emphasis, and evangelistic outreach. Which in turn means not reaching lost people with the gospel, which results in not having new disciples or followers of Christ, to baptize and become new tithing church members. It becomes a vicious cycle.

I have heard it said many times by key pastors and denominational leaders, that we budget for what is the most important. I would have to say that Jesus has given His church a mandate for evangelism and then make disciples. The disciples are then added into the body of the congregation, the church. We do not grow the church, God adds to the church according to Acts 2:47.  As the cliché goes, it seems that the church has “put the cart before the horse.” A commons statement I heard before in years past, “As the church goes, so goes the nation.” How is your church evangelism going?

So, if you are looking at your budget for 2016, consider adding a line item for the “Fulfillment of the Jesus Mandate for Evangelism. If your budget is shrinking, trying growing your budget through making evangelism a major emphasis in your church or ministry again.

I have heard it said, that if something is everyone’s job, it is nobody’s job. I have heard pastors make the statement, Evangelism is everyone’s job. However true this statement is, and it is unless there is a Pastor of Outreach Evangelism to remind the church, staff, and church leaders to keep evangelism at the forefront of all ministry a church does, it will not happen.

Need more money for your evangelism ministry budget?  Then “Let’s go soul winning” and makes some new disciple of Christ and teach them how to budget to tithe and support the ministry.

 

 

 

For another year in a row, we have seen fewer baptisms in our churches across North America. When there are so many new people coming to America. God is sending the world to our front and back door. The foreign mission field is so close that we interact many of our new neighbors on a daily basis.

We must begin to ask some hard questions if we are going to see an exponential change in the practices how we engage in evangelism or the lack thereof. (1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations? (2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness? (3) What changes in strategy, or strategies need to be added to see increased evangelism efforts? (4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

(1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations?

According to the Immigration Institute in Washington D.C., on their website, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states, facts show that the mission field in here and churches have the opportunity to minister and evangelize if we will just go and make disciples. As stated in a report,

“In 2014, 1.3 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, an 11 percent increase from 1.2 million in 2013. India was the leading country of origin for new immigrants, with 147,500 arriving in 2014, followed by China with 131,800, Mexico with 130,000, Canada with 41,200, and the Philippines with 40,500.”

Note: The Census Bureau defines recent immigrants here as foreign-born individuals who resided abroad one year prior, including lawful permanent residents, temporary nonimmigrants, and unauthorized immigrants.

We see that just from immigrants, there is an influx of newly arrived souls, most likely many of them are not followers of Jesus Christ! Just like in most major cities, there is a section of town that the government has located and is using as the Refugee and immigrant, a community for placing newly arrived souls. And hopefully, in some cases, there is a church or ministry that is reaching out to the people in their mission field. Truly The fields are white for harvest.

Having partnered with one such Church, and community in Metro Atlanta, GA where there are over 50 language groups in a square mile, there have been many attempts to reach these souls with the gospel. The church currently has about nine different congregations under its umbrella that are making Jesus known.

I recently heard Franklin Graham share a story how Samaritan’s Purse teams are some of the first Christians many of the refugee Muslims meet after, surviving the long trip on rafts, to the Greek Islands. He shared that many of the refugees are saying that that Islam has failed and does not work. They are asking for someone to tell about Jesus Christ.

(2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness?

If we were investigating a crime scene, what evidence or proof would we need to come to the conclusion, without reasonable doubt that a church is living in blatant disobedience to Christ command to go and evangelize lost people and make disciples?

I can think of one key factor, intentional evangelism. The church and denomination would have

  • a staff person/leader who gives leadership and is personally involved in evangelism, evangelism training
  • continually engaging lost people to share the gospel
  • making leaders from people groups and language groups, and to develop leaders in their specific group to expand the ministry through evangelism and disciple making
  • Offer session in developing an evangelistic strategy and its components to churches, pastors, and church leadership to have an effective outreach and evangelism ministry
  • Producing new strategies and emphasis for evangelism and prayer, and disciple making
  • Producing new gospel tracts and approaches bases on the biblical principles and prayer materials

(3) What changes in strategy, or what strategies need to be made or added to see increased evangelism efforts?

Through my doctoral project, I learned about surveying, evaluating, and study of strategy development and implementation for churches to determine if they were evangelistic. I learned about the value of evaluating the ministry, a pastor, and a church. Evaluation is good a place to begin. We must ask some hard questions about a strategy, methods, approaches, and its principles. We must make sure that strategy is biblical and at its core is an evangelistic DNA that will reproduce and spread.

The Bible such be our primary source for evangelism strategies, methods and approaches, and principles. We methods and approaches made not identical but in them, you should be able to identify key basis components for evangelism.

If the ministries of a church are not encouraging and equipping believers to go out and make Jesus known on a daily and weekly basis, then should we reevaluate our strategy? Evangelism is the lifeline of the church. We do not reproduce biologically to grow a church, but through spiritual new births. Though, at some point, hopefully, you will share with your offspring about the trusts of Jesus Christ. They will need to believe in and trust Him for salvation.

A good evangelism strategy should include components such as having a person who fans the flame of evangelism in the church, by promoting, conducting and leading out in evangelism.

(4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

Through my doctoral project and through my personal ministry experience I learned about leadership and having the person in place to lead a specific ministry. I know of one church situation where an individual was hired for a staff position on the basis that he was an excellent manager in the business world.

But when the individual was put in charge of the evangelism ministry he grew the ministry from over 250 people down to 15 people in a matter of months. When the evangelism teams went out to make visits, he did not go with a team. He stayed back at the church. Obviously, evangelism was not his passion, but a tool for success.

As I mentioned earlier, I learned a great deal about evaluation that it is good a place to begin. One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

Dr. A, as we all called him, said that if there were not any baptisms, nor added growth, then he would ask what changes need to be made to become more evangelistic and see potential growth. Then he added, “either they made changes to make sure that ministry was evangelistic, or the person was replaced with a more evangelistic personality.”

I have learned that effective organizations conduct an evaluation for the purpose of improvement. But you cannot force people to do something that they are not passionate about and are living out.

What changes need to be made:

  • Hire leadership that has an evangelistic heart and lives it
  • Hire other staff members or develop a team of volunteers, to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Leadership and team are continually seeking to develop a team of leaders to help carry out the evangelism emphasis, and with logistics for evangelism impact in the community
  • Other staff members are hired to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Develop various strategies and materials for churches to have an intentional and reproducing evangelism ministry and new church growth

On a regular basis, I pray for pastors’, churches, and believers to become more evangelistic. That they would make Jesus known to their community around them and to the world. The world will not know about the saving grace of Jesus unless we go and make disciples. Jesus plan is to for to “Go and makes disciples of all nations,” Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. We the nations are here at our front and back door. The Distance is not far, but our commitment to Jesus must be deep. Go Make Jesus Known!

Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (NASB)

What does it mean to be a “Radical Christian?” I am not talking about a screaming in your face or a bullhorn on the street corner Christian. Though it might mean you do at some occasion stand on a street corner or on the side of the road and use a bullhorn, using the correct tone of voice and mannerism.

Radical Christianity is much more than being loud. To a be a Radical Christian, from a biblical standpoint, means to have a God-given, Holy Spirit empowered, concern and passion for evangelizing lost people with the gospel. Anyone can talk about doing evangelism, but the Radical Christian does it. He or she trains and mentors others how to share the gospel in various contexts.

Radical Christianity, means you go into the hard areas, the high-risk areas, whether, the urban centers across America, or the college campuses, or the workplace and you look for divine appointments to share about Jesus Christ as the Spirit leads. What is a divine appointment, you may be asking? Those are the opportunities, the moments when the Holy Spirit leads you to a person or brings someone to you to start a witnessing conversation.

A Radical Church is a local gathering of Radical Christians whose main objective, the main focus is to make Jesus Christ known. The Radical Christian prays daily and yes, even throughout the day, for opportunities to witness, and for souls to be saved. The Radical Christian goes through the day looking for the opportunities to offer a gospel tract, or pray for someone and then shares how Jesus Christ gives hope, love, forgiveness and a new start in life.

The Radical Christian does not have to go overseas to evangelize, though they can and do make a trip to a foreign land to be Jesus’s witnesses. But for most Christians, the most difficult trip may be to go across their yard to the next door neighbor, or across the street to share the gospel.

The Radical Christian is a soul winner, a prayer warrior who talks to God at the spur of the moment in someone’s time of need. Evangelism will become easier as the Radical Christian engages in witnessing conversations. And they will experience more people born into God’s kingdom because they evangelize.

Radical does not mean fanatical, but people who are not followers of Jesus Christ will probably refer to you as a fanatic because you have a faith they do not have or do not understand. Radical Christianity is the life of the “Church.” The Holy Spirit is the flame, and at salvation, a lost person, who believes and receives Jesus Christ by faith, becomes on fire, hot-hearted for Christ.

A Christian is radical in belief and action because Jesus was radical and experienced a radical death and resurrection. At the moment of salvation, we get the Holy Spirit who is in Jesus and Jesus through Him, that makes a radical life.

So go live a radical life of Christianity and be Jesus’ witnesses. Go tell people, the world about the Lord and Savior of the world. Go and make Jesus Christ known to the world.

 

It never fails. I have had this question proposed to me while conducting evangelism training, and workshops. Pastors, staff, deacons, and Christians have asked me a similar question. “How do you begin a witnessing conversation or meeting with someone?”

In my book, Breaking the Evangelism Code, Chapter 10, I share from my personal experiences and examples by seasoned soul winners. God has used the experiences evangelizing in the inner cities across America to teach me several valuable lessons.

Let me share with you some helpful suggestions that will help you to begin a witnessing conversation.

  1. You can have peace of mind when it comes to evangelism, because God’s Spirit will lead you in the conversation. Evangelism is God’s heartbeat. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Luke 19:10 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
  1. You should pray, ask God’s Spirit to fill you, to lead you, and to prepare the individual(s) He wants to lead to make Jesus known to them. Jesus said, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15
  2. Gods’ Spirit will direct and guide your words. John 14:26 “But he, The Redeemer of the accursed, The Spirit of Holiness, whom my Father sends in my name, he will teach you all things and he will remind you of everything whatsoever I have told you.” Aramaic Bible in Plain English
  3. God’s Spirit will direct you who to approach, when to approach them and how to begin a witnessing conversation. Acts 10:17-19 19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.
  4. I learned the value of listening to the Holy Spirit, by obeying His leading I get to have effective witness encounters
  5. Start the witnessing conversation by sharing how God changed your life, “Your Grace Story/Testimony.” Write it out, shorten it. Learn a 3, 5, 10-minute version with key gospel verses.
  6. Learn how to share one verse, John 3:16, Romans 6:23. (Do an internet search for much specifics.)
  7. Become comfortable using a simple Gospel Tract. Practice does make perfect.
  8. Learn how to bring a person to the point of decision. What is the point of decision? It is offering a person the opportunity to ask Jesus to forgive his or her sin and to invite Jesus to take control of his or her life.
  9. Learn how to lead in a prayer to surrender, anyone who wants Christ as Lord and Savior, who wants a new start in life, his or her life to Jesus. Read Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9. (This is a warning with a caution that has consequences)
  10. If you have the privilege of leading someone to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, connect the person to your Bible study group and church. You want to make lasting disciples.

This list is just a starting point. I hope these help you and God uses these suggestions to put a fire in your bones to make Jesus Christ known.

If you want to get a copy of any of my books, go to amazon.com and do a search for Breaking the Evangelism Code, The Prepared Witness, Intentional Community Evangelism, by me, Victor H. Benavides.  Check out my website, M28evangelism.com for consulting, conferences and much more.