We have been developing people to be more evangelistic and outreaching toward visitors and their friends and neighbors. Turns out Jesus and Paul were right…the real results of all of this take time. Jesus talked about a sower who went out and sowed seeds. The crop that lasted was not what sprung up in an instant but the good soil crop that took a little longer to sprout but produced fruit that would last. Paul said that growth required some people sowing, others watering and God making it grow. That all takes time. Vince said in our class last Wednesday that you don’t throw seed in a hole and wake up the next morning and find a tree. That would freak you out if you did because it doesn’t work that way!
Here is what we have learned from the outreach ministry we have developed. It has taken people about two months of meeting together weekly before the culture actually started changing. That means they didn’t completely “Get it” until they were engaged in the process weekly 8-10 times! And we think we can preach a sermon and change people in one shot. It just doesn’t happen. Your direction has to be repeated and repeated and repeated. More than that…their action and movement in that direction has to happen over and over alongside the teaching and then…even after two months the light bulb is just coming on. That is quite the process!
Working on discipling people and training them to be more evangelistic has opened my eyes to see that people aren’t going to get it because we teach it. They aren’t going to get it even when we do a single event to help people get it. The things that are most important have to be repeated, practiced and (the third element I haven’t mentioned yet) celebrated repeatedly. Then people will get it! When they get it…they really are invested, bought in and serious because (key point) the culture has changed.