September 29, 2003

Dear Fellow Leaders -

A few months ago, Dr. Bill Bright, Dr. George Barna, and I had a lively discussion regarding evangelism in North America. At the close of conversation, I asked Dr. Barna two questions. The first question was, "How many protestant churches are there in America? He responded by saying, "There are more than 325,000 churches in the United States. The second question was, "How many of the 325,000 are growing through directly through evangelism efforts? The answer that I was received was, "There are approximately 3,500 churches growing through evangelism efforts." That means more than 98% of all American churches are failing to fulfill the Great Commission.

What is the overriding purpose of the local church? It is to prepare and bring a bride to Jesus Christ. After more than 20 years in fulltime evangelism I wish to offer five important steps to building effective evangelistic leadership.

ESTABLISH YOUR CAUSE

We need to beware of unclear goals. If we do not know where we are going, then is does not matter if the alarm clock goes off on time or not. If we do not have a definite cause, then we are like ship a without a rudder and a compass on a dark night. All of us need goals for our lives. Do you have goals that are specific enough to write down on paper?

We need to beware of unworthy goals. We can have power and still not be successful. What is success? One definition of failure is succeeding at the wrong things. When a person tries to be successful without God in his life, that person will fail miserably or "succeed" more miserably. Failure is often succeeding at the wrong things.

Do we have any worthy goals? Are our goals God- given? Do the things that moves us, move God? Do they create enough motivation for us to say, "This one thing I do?" Does the cause for our life demand our very best? In the causes we have selected, can we honestly ask God to bless our path and give us success? Can we honestly get on our knees and ask God to help us accomplish you goals for his glory?

We need to beware of unbalanced goals. God gave us two legs so we can have balance. We need to have specific goals for every areas of life. We need to ask these three pungent questions. If we get to where we are going, where will we be? If we accomplish our goals, what will we have? Are the things we are living for, worth Jesus dying for?

EXAMINE YOUR CONDITIONS

We must take an honest inventory of our lives in particular and our churches in general.. If you were to coming to visit in my home, and phoned me for directions, the first question I would ask is, "Where are you, now?" Therefore we must diagnose our problems. We need to know what stands between us and accomplishment of our cause. What are the roadblocks? Just because we encounter obstacles does not mean that God is not with us.

The door of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition. Problems are simply opportunities turned inside out. If we had no problems, we probably would have no jobs. If there were no spiritual problems then would there be even the need for the local church? We are not paid to do nothing. In fact, our wealth or value will be determined by how well we solve problems. We need to stop complaining about our problems. There are no problems in heaven just plans for our lives. I challenge you ask God to show you the required plan to move your church forward in evangelism. There is nothing wrong with planning. God planned our redemption before He created the world.

ENCOURAGE YOUR CONFIDENCE

The road to effective evangelism can sometimes be long and rugged for the minister. Yet, the Lord truly desires for us to have the confidence to continue until we are successful in our soul winning efforts. We need to commence this journey with the promise factor. We need to get in to the Word of God. There are more promises in the Bible than we have problems in life. Study the Word of God and discover all of the promises that relate to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.