You have a wonderful idea for a new faith-based community outreach, evangelism or practical ministry event.
Maybe you will have a community meal at Thanksgiving or Christmas, a program for mothers of preschoolers, a seniors club, a career preparation program for the unemployed, hot lunch program or something else.
It is a great idea, with a good location, meeting the actual needs of the people in your area.
Don’t have a faith-based ministry outreach idea? I have you covered. Sign up for my free Resource Library to find a whole list of Word and Deed Ministry Ideas.
Now, how do you preach the gospel at your outreach event?
In the Bible the gospel is preached in three different ways.
Three Ways the Gospel is Preached
The first way is with words. People reached with a word based gospel respond to preaching, teaching, stories, literature and theology. These individuals want to know about God and who he is.
The second way is with experience. The people reached with an experience based gospel respond to music, prayer, celebration, feeling part of a community and having a relationship with God.
The third way is with practical value or artistic expression. Pragmatic people respond to individuals being helped and supported, good works being done, lives being turned around, beauty produced, and art developed. These people want to see God’s Kingdom being worked out here on earth.
Many of the larger Christian denominations will major in one of these areas and minor in the other two.
To be very effective, and have the widest application your evangelism should be strong in all three areas.
Here are 10 ideas to include in your next faith-based outreach program to maximize your evangelism.
Pray before, during and after your ministry event.
Make a short announcement inviting everyone to come apart and pray.
You can make this prayer as long or as short as you like. By praying before an event, you are praising God and petitioning him to be with you as you gather together.
Also you are letting everyone who does not believe know that you not only believe in God, but that you also believe in communicating with God.
After you pray with anyone who wants to before the event, then when you get your event started pray again. Invite anyone who prays to pray with you to get the program started.
If you are serving a meal, you can ask God to bless it. Not everyone will participate, but many will show respect for prayer.
Praying is a visible reminder of the faith of the people hosting the event.
Also, team members and leaders can pray with people individually over concerns. Be available to anyone who would like to pray and pray right there in the hallway.
For prayers with vulnerable people, call in another team member to pray with you. By praying in a public space with at least two team members you can avoid any accusations of wrongdoing.
Don’t assume everyone at your events is a praying person. By making a distinction you are showing people respect and also that there is a difference between believing and unbelieving people.
Hand out scripture cards or encouragement cards, Bibles, Christian and other free literature.
During your event, hand out business sized encouragement cards or 1/4 page reminder cards for people to take home. They can post them around their homes, hand them to other people or use them during their daily devotions.
As you hand them out, read them aloud to everyone. Slowly. Tell people what the verse means and why you thought it was important to print out. Tell people how you will use the card or have someone else tell how they use their cards.
Text a verse of scripture to individuals who would like a weekly or daily verse. Verse texting can also be a personal ministry of anyone with a phone plan.
Have daily devotion books available. There are tracts and small booklets available to answer specific faith-based questions people may have. Scripture coloring sheets are easy to create and distribute.
You can keep information about various free health and welfare programs available in your area and their hours of operation.
Have upcoming events are other churches available and announce them as well. Let people know that Christian people work together and are not in competition with one another.
My friend has business cards printed with a verse on them. He hands these cards out all over the city telling people not to give up on God, because God hasn’t given up on them.
Do you have Bibles available to give away? Get some. Consider Easy English Bibles as well. Not everyone reads English or is literate. If you can afford it, MP3 players with Bible recorded onto them are great for non-readers.
3. Tell Bible Stories
Bible story time is not just for children. Many people who will not sit and listen to a sermon or preacher will listen to a Bible story.
Bible stories are short and can be told in a few minutes. Many people can memorize a story they have read or heard quite easily and retell it to a group. Jesus told parables and stories many times during his earthly ministry.
Don’t use children’s Sunday school material to prepare for telling stories to adults. Use the Bible and tell the story as it is written.
Adults love to listen to the Bible stories they heard as children and are often quite surprised to find out that the real story is different than they remember.
The Old Testament often uses graphic language and strong imagery, don’t water it down, but tell the story fully, so that everyone can picture it and remember it.
4. Read a Bible Verse.
Get your Bible out and read a Bible verse to everyone. If you have access to projector screens, you can put a verse or two up on the announcement list before your event starts.
Some people come early to events and read the screens. Give them something good to read and look at.
Put up a monthly or weekly verse on your bulletin board.
Some places can incorporate verses or biblical imagery into their lobby art and set designs.
The possibilities are endless.
5. Short Evangelical Message, or a Personal Testimony
The key to having an evangelical message during an outreach event is to keep the message gospel centered and evangelistic. Don’t try to preach a Sunday morning sermon written for a believing community to a Saturday night crowd of people from the community.
Don’t use big words or expect your hearers to have any Biblical knowledge at all.
Do talk about common life struggles and problems, errors in secular thinking and the beauty of Christ.
Please don’t use Christian jargon when giving your testimony or an evangelical message. Not sure what what Christian jargon is? I have a long PDF list of words for you. Sign up for my Resource Library to download it
6. Watch out for Program Transitions
Is the entire team praying when the leader is? Or are some people working and moving into the next program item?
If you want your hearers to focus on the prayer or message, then ALL of the team should be focused on the prayer or message. Don’t make your transitions too smooth by changing the set, stage team, equipment or anything else during a prayer.
Our relationship with our God is most important. Don’t undermine what you believe for the sake of a few minutes time.
7. Have Evangelism Team Sit In Audience
Have the lead team sitting in the audience before, during and after your event. The gospel is for everyone including the team.
By sitting with people, you can speak to them before and after the program. In your conversation you can learn more accurate ways to pray for them, encourage them, speak a true word of grace to them or sometimes, even warn them against sinful behavior.
I have noticed that people will give more attention to the person at the front who has sat and listened to the people at the back.
8. Announce Worship Services
We are a people who worship God. Please talk about gathering together and worshiping at other times.
Announce Sunday morning worship services for your area or at your location. If you can, post this information on an announcement screen and in many other places.
A good place for announcements is right on the door of the building! People often line up before the doors open, so why not post information that they can use.
You can post the starting times for any other events and announce them too.
Sometimes, we print up some cards for people to take home or put in their wallets with times and events on them.
9. Celebrate Life Events and Individual Expression
Birthdays, anniversaries, spiritual births, years of sobriety, adoptions are important life events for people. They are times to celebrate.
Let everyone who attends your program rejoice with the one who rejoices.
In some cases, you can get the person who is celebrating to come up and say a few words or even a short testimony of God’s grace to them.
Also, there are other folks who are so thankful to God for the ability to walk that they need to get up and move.
I know a dear old woman who cannot sit still when she hears her favorite song about walking along holding Jesus’ hand.
She has to get up and move around the room in her walker. We play her song on a regular basis.
Everyone moves out of her way and she is a living, breathing testimony of God’s grace.
She leads a little parade of people in thankfulness for one song.
10. Have a Reconciliation Process for Misbehavior
Do you have stated house rules for your events or building? What happens when the rules are violated?
Do you ban people from coming to your events?
How can someone who has broken the rules come back?
I know this isn’t a problem for many churches, but if you are considering doing outreach evangelism, then it will come up.
What kind of reconciliation process do you have with individuals who break the house rules?
Include in your reconciliation process, review the house rules with a pastor or leader and make sure a record is kept of the meeting.
Many soup kitchens and government outreach centers ban people from their building and provide no way for an individual to be allowed back.
By having a reconciliation process, your program will be set apart from secular programs.
Do you need a few more evangelism ideas?
Play worship music and/or have a worship team.
Tell people who attend how God is blessing by providing for the needs of your outreach ministry.
Call people during the week and find out how they are.
Get involved in people’s lives by helping them with weddings or baby showers.
Visit people from your outreach event in hospitals or attend funeral events or court dates with them.
Have trained and screened volunteers available to write letters, review resumes and even help non-readers with government forms.
Serve free food.
Let me know how your event turns out. I would love to hear what worked for you.
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