Two years ago our ministers and elders read Andy Stanley’s book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. One of the principles in that book is think steps, not programs. What he means by that is to think of how someone actually moves from where they are to where God desires them to be and then create or allow space for it to take place. When we applied this principle to evangelism we came up with five steps of salvation…well no, more like five steps to becoming a mature or maturing disciple of Christ. This is the rubric we use in our Wednesday night class.
Here are the five steps:
- Attract – these are the people we want to reach out to but who have never come to be a part of anything involving the church. The goal is to invite them.
- Welcome – these are people who have come through the door. Someone has greeted them. We have seen them and they have seen us. They have shown up at least once to a small group, class, worship, event, etc. The goal is to get to know them.
- Build Relationships – They are starting to connect with Christians and are forming meaningful relationships. The goal is to move deeper than being friends…to lead them to Christ.
- Transform – This group is involved in studying about Christ, faith, salvation, etc. (Jesus 101 plays a role in that study). The goal of this study is for them to be baptized/become a Christian.
- Integrate – These are baptized Christians who have not yet gotten involved in ministry. The goal here is to get them involved in ministering to others and being involved in the mission of the church.
Now this is not the perfect plan and for some it will be too attractional. What I mean by that is on the surface it seems we are trying to get them to the building over getting them to Christ but that really isn’t the case. We realize we have to spend time with them somewhere, somehow and have decided that this can take place in a number of ways, shapes and forms. We know that this is not the perfect plan but it is something more than we have done in the past. It isn’t perfect and it will evolve over time through experience. Something cannot evolve unless it is already alive and being practiced. Evolution doesn’t take place as effective on paper as it does in practice.
The next post will be on how the steps help guide our discussion in our Wednesday night outreach class.
I still like what I’m seeing. Your objective is not to get someone into the baptistery – but to help them to become a disciple of Jesus. There is a difference. If my objective is to baptize, then when a baptism occurs, my objective is met, and I can move on to the next “prospect.” On the other hand, if my objective is to make a disciple of Jesus, baptism is just one part of that. In fact, the Great Commission says we are to make disciples and baptize them. The movement toward full discipleship begins even before baptism. In fact, that is what brings the person to baptism. This movement is to continue throughout life as we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
Of course, this takes much more time that just convincing someone to submit to baptism. What happens before baptism is very important: coming to know and love Jesus, wanting to become like Him. These are things that will continue to grow in our lives – and lead us to become more and more like Him.
As this happens, the new convert becomes an evangelist – and the original evangelist (personal worker, teacher, friend who introduced another to Jesus) will multiply him/herself. Thus, this adds to the growth of the church more than the evangelist simply baptizing as many people as he can.
I’m eager to hear more.