In Monday’s 2019 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Session 2 workshop, “Effective Evangelism Strategies in the Local Church,” Bryant Lee, pastor of Higher Expectations Church in Humble, spoke to a group of church leaders about why churches must become e-churches.
According to Lee, an e-church is one that is wholly committed to evangelism as its primary means for reaching the lost.
“Evangelism must be the primary focus of the local church,” Lee said passionately. “We do a lot of things as the church, but evangelism must be our main focus.”
Laying the foundation
Lee opened the session by sharing his testimony. As a young man growing up in St. Louis, MO, he was introduced to Black nationalism and radical Islam at a young age.
One Sunday, Lee recalled, he made plans to attend a local Pentecostal church. With his army-issued knife hidden in his boot, he intended to approach the pastor after the invitation and cut his throat as an act of terrorism.
Lee’s plans were radically altered when he found himself captivated by the pastor’s simple Gospel message from John 3:16-17.
“For some reason, unexplainable to me, in a room about this size, I got up and walked down those aisles with tears in my eyes,” Lee said. “I was just thinking, ‘I’ve got to figure out who this Jesus is.’”
His life changed in a second, he explained, and he never looked back. It is this testimony that makes Lee passionate to see every Texas Baptist church utterly committed to evangelism.
A living example of this belief, Lee implored attendees to understand that, “there is no such thing as an unreachable person. Everyone is reachable with the Gospel.”
Becoming an e-church
A church’s transformation into an e-church begins with leaders and members alike who are compelled to reach men and women for Christ.
Being compelled means that Christians are deeply motivated by the Gospel to reach others for God’s Kingdom. They can see and explain how the Gospel has affected their own lives and desire for lost people to partake in this blessing too.
“We often get together inside our nice, air-conditioned buildings, and if we’re not careful, this cool air will completely smother the fires in our hearts,” said Lee, poetically reminding attendees that sharing the Gospel does not often happen inside the church building. Rather, the church must be compelled to go out to lost people with the Good News.
The second step in becoming an e-church, Lee explained, is for church leaders to lead by example.
“Pastors, elders, deacons and the like, if you are not leading the charge for evangelism, your church won’t be an e-church. Never ask people to do something you are unwilling to do,” Lee preached.
Lastly, to be an e-church, leaders must empower church members to be evangelists along with them.
“Every person is an evangelist. Don’t let people say, ‘I don’t have the gift’ – that’s foolishness. Jesus says we’ve all been called to tell others about Him,” Lee said. “We all have the gift. We can all share our testimony.”
Toward the end of the session, Lee shared practical ways to apply these lessons about evangelism.
Many of these applications involved providing members with tangible resources for engaging with the community, such as prayer cards, door hangers and invite cards.
“These are all inexpensive, effective ways to empower church members to communicate about your church,” said Lee.
He also strongly encouraged churches to have websites that are easily-navigable, welcoming and engaging.
“I like to call this your Internet real-estate. Ninety percent of people will go to your website before they enter your doors, so make sure it looks good,” stated Lee. “If you don’t have a contact link in the top corner, then you’re doing your community a disservice.”
Lee also shared about different educational materials that churches can use to train both leaders and members for evangelism. First, he explained the 4xfour Challenge, a model that teaches believers to identify, intercede, invite and invest in just four people they know.
Next, Lee shared about the 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide, which provides a variety of resources to teach believers how to share their faith quickly and clearly. He strongly suggested that churches use the free 3 Circles app to train members.
Other practical applications of evangelism in the community include water bottle outreach programs, block parties, school adoptions, Celebrate Recovery groups and Higher Expectations Church’s own Pray/Care/Share (PCS) model.
In one of the session’s most powerful moments, Lee reminded attendees that evangelism starts with one person.
“Who is your one? Right now. This is not rhetorical. I’m looking you in the eye and asking,” Lee said. “This person has to be in the places that you live, work, play, and stay. Someone you can sit eye to eye with and share the Gospel. Can you name this person? Just one.”
To see Lee’s full presentation on e-churches and begin reaching people for the Gospel one person at a time, click here.
Meredith Rose is a News Intern with Texas Baptists.