Your guide to reaching your community


By: John Hall, Contributing Writer

When Mike Satterfield was a teenager, he had to mow his family’s lawn as well as the lawn of his neighbors. So no matter how hot it was, he was out there pushing a lawn mower every week. Up and down the yards he trudged, sweat dripping down his brow, while his father watched from the porch

As Satterfield looked across his work after he believed it to be finished, he noticed spots that he missed and uneven lines. Just once, Satterfield thought, I wish my father would show me how to do this properly rather than leaving me out here to learn on my own. I’d probably be a lot better at it.

That thought has stuck with the new Texas Baptists African American Evangelism Specialist as he’s served churches, led revivals, guided retreats and shared the Gospel in a variety of settings.

Wherever he teaches or preaches, he attempts to equip Christians to share the Gospel as they move about their circles of influence – their neighborhoods, families and workplaces.

He offers these tips for church leaders seeking to empower their congregations to be more evangelistic:

“There’s a difference between a travel agent and a tour guide,” Satterfield said. “A travel agent says, ‘You ought to go to Paris. I’ll book your flight.’ But a tour guide will say, ‘You ought to go to Paris. I’ve been there. Come with me, I’ll show you around the city.’”

Show people how to share the Gospel, don’t simply tell them to do it

As children learn from observing their parents, younger Christians learn by being with more mature believers. They gain confidence by seeing others exercise their faith and share the Gospel. They learn how to do it in a variety of ways.

Mature Christians can prod their younger brothers and sisters in the faith to be bolder in sharing the Gospel. They can hold younger believers accountable. And they can provide a guide to living out one’s faith.

“There’s a difference between a travel agent and a tour guide,” Satterfield said. “A travel agent says, ‘You ought to go to Paris. I’ll book your flight.’ But a tour guide will say, ‘You ought to go to Paris. I’ve been there. Come with me, I’ll show you around the city.’”

Keep the emphasis on evangelism before the congregation

Pastors craft sermon series to connect with their congregations, sharing biblical truths on issues they may be facing. Worship services, including music and multimedia selection, are molded artfully to reinforce the message.

Then after a few weeks, the sermon series changes to address another topic. The worship service is tailored to those messages.

And the congregation is left to believe whatever the current series is must be what’s the most important topic to the church at that moment.

Pastors must be mindful of this and continuously speak to the importance of sharing the Gospel. Videos must reinforce it. Preaching must encourage it. Songs must empower it. Otherwise, the emphasis on evangelism will be lost.

“If the pastor doesn’t undergird and endorse it and see evangelism become contagious through discipleship, it will become the seed that’s fallen on thorny ground,” Satterfield said.

Keep the need before the people

Satterfield’s next point of encouragement to church leaders goes hand-in-hand with the last: Keep the need for evangelism in front of the congregation. Non-Christians live all around every member of every church, even if they don’t realize it.

“We think of going overseas to go to the places that are hostile to the Gospel, but even in our own world here there are places that are against a kingdom mindset,” he said.

Satterfield is reminded of a church he visited that met across the street from a mall. Each Sunday, members would worship at the church. And each Sunday, people would work at the mall. The two never seemed to intersect.

The opportunity to share the Gospel with a group of people was literally across the street. But congregations have to see the mission field before them.

Keep it simple

Every believer is called to share his or her faith, Satterfield noted. Even the youngest Christian has a testimony to share.

Satterfield encourages each leader to keep it simple: Let mature Christians disciple younger ones and be role models, talk about the importance of evangelism and keep the need before the congregation.

Then let them do it. And watch as God changes lives.

“It’s knowing what we know – Jesus is Lord – and showing what we know so those who don’t know can do it together with us,” he said.

Through support from the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mike Satterfield and other evangelism strategists are available to help your congregation reach its community. He leads revivals, equipping conferences and teaching sessions. Contact him at Mike.Satterfield@texasbaptists.org.

Related articles: Results of Kindling a Gospel Movement / How to turn everyday talks into Gospel conversations / Cómo volver conversaciones diarias en conversaciones del Evangelio