In his book Faithful Over a Few Things, George McCalep Jr. writes, “The pastors and church leaders that want their churches to grow must make an intentional effort to make evangelism and outreach ministry a major focus in the life of the church. The key word is intentional or purposeful. Effective evangelism does not just happen.” Below are 20 creative evangelism ideas that your church can try in 2020.
1. Public Prayer Ministry
The important work of evangelism must begin with prayer. Prayer changes our hearts and makes us more sensitive to what God is already doing around us. This also provides a wonderful way to engage the unchurched. One of the most natural ways to begin a gospel conversation is by saying, “We have a prayer ministry at my church and I was wondering if you had any prayer needs that we can lift up for you or your family?” Train and challenge the congregation to ask this question everywhere they go, write down the responses, and then follow up.
2. Provide Gospel Conversation Training and Set Goals
Learning to share one’s own testimony and a basic gospel presentation is not very difficult but church leaders should not assume everyone is already equipped to do this. Before coordinating opportunities for gospel conversations, the church may want to plan a few training sessions to equip members to share their faith in effective ways. Training in One Verse Evangelism or Three Circles may be helpful.
3. 1@1 Challenge
Church members already interact with the unchurched throughout the week. Encourage them to pray for one of their lost friends at 1 p.m. every day. Challenge them to look for opportunities to share the Gospel or invite them to church. This will keep the mission in the forefront of their mind throughout the week so they are more likely to recognize opportunities to reach out to others.
4. Sponsor a local school, classroom, team or student group
Purchase supplies for a classroom, volunteer as helpers or chaperones, maintain the grounds or equipment at a local school. Serving students makes all the difference in the world. Parents notice those who are serving their children and become more willing to engage. Just being there for student groups that are already assembling in your community and finding creative ways to serve their needs is always an effective way to introduce gospel conversations.
5. Host a Block Party
Use the church parking lot or find a cul-de-sac nearby and host a barbeque block party for the entire neighborhood. Make sure there are plenty of games, snacks, and entertainment, and you will have yourself a great way to engage others with the Gospel.
6. Adopt a Senior Center
Taking care of those who cannot care for themselves is at the very heart of the gospel. What better way to shine the light of the good news in your community than by serving the elderly? Organize weekly worship services, provide haircuts, manicures, pedicures, and other services at the local senior centers while looking for opportunities to share the Gospel.
7. Adopt an International Student
Most international students who come to the U.S. on exchange programs are never invited into an American home. Coordinate with a local university to host an international student throughout the year. Welcome them at the airport and treat them to a meal in your home.
This will always provide opportunities for Gospel conversations.
8. Holiday Food Baskets
Organize, prepare and deliver holiday food baskets to families and individuals in your community. Focus especially on those families in need. Include information about the church with an invitation.
9. Business Blasts
Surprise local businesses with baskets of baked goods or candy for all their employees. Leave a connection card that reads something like, “We appreciate how you serve the community with your business, and we wanted to share God’s love in a practical way.”
10. Pay Library Fines
Leave money at the front desk in the local library with instructions for the librarian to use it for those who have fines that day. Leave plenty connection cards inviting them to the church and reminding them that Jesus has paid our debt in full.
11. Golf Balls and Tees
Give away imprinted golf balls and tees on the local golf course telling people about your church. Stamping your church’s name and message on golf balls is very affordable and helps bring awareness of your church’s involvement in the community.
12. Meal with the Unchurched
Challenge the congregation to invite one unchurched neighbor or co-worker to a meal each week. Christians cannot enter gospel conversations if they are not intentionally meeting with
13. Host Study Session for Local College
During finals college students are often looking for quiet places with good coffee to meet with groups and study. Why not host a study group at your church and serve them during a stressful time of the year? Invite them to come back when they are done with their tests.
14. Gift Basket or Baked Goods for Neighbors
There is nothing like a plate of cookies or a gift basket to break the ice when visiting a neighbor. Include with the gift information about the church and personally invite them to come with you the following Sunday.
15. Host Recovery or Help Groups
If your church has the space, consider letting recovery and help groups use it throughout the week. There are all kinds of groups that would benefit from using your facility like: Alcoholics Anonymous, Financial Courses, Divorce Recovery, ESL Classes, etc. If none of these groups are meeting in your area, consider starting some. Provide refreshments and leave information about the church for all who attend.
16. Honor First Responders
Show up with goodies at the local fire station or police station to thank the first responders for their service to the community. Leave a note from the church which says something like, “We appreciate how you serve and protect our community and we wanted to share God’s love in a practical way.”
17. Honor Teachers
Visit local schools with gifts or goodies to thank teachers and administers for their service to our children. Leave a note from the church which says something like, “We appreciate how you serve and care for our children and we wanted to share God’s love in a practical way.”
18. Staff the Concession Stands
Coordinate with local schools and sports groups to staff the concession stands at local events. Wear the same shirts which identifies the church and lets others see your involvement in the community. Ask about setting out flyers and other information about the church to invite the community to attend.
19. Serve Prisoners and their Families
Work with a local prison to provide basic needs for the prisoners and their families. People in prison are some of the most grateful and ready to receive the Good News of the Gospel due to their difficult circumstances. Teaching the church to reach out to “least of these” is one of the best examples of Christ we can demonstrate to our community.
20. Use Technology and Social Media
Ask someone to take videos, pictures and record testimonies when the church is involved in any of these outreach efforts so you can easily retell and share the stories during weekly church services and on social media. This helps encourage other church members and those in the community to get involved in all the church is doing throughout the community.
For more evangelism tools, visit txb.org/evangelism.