How To Have Effective Evangelistic Leadership
- Dr. James O. Davis GPN President and Cofounder
- 2003 29 Sep
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.
We need to continue with the profit factor. We need to know the benefits for accomplishing our goals. What is the payoff? What is the bottom line? Real motivation comes from proper motives. Once we see what the profit is, we then determine the why, and God shows us the how. The big question is: Is my whole life built around bringing a bride to Jesus? Is the overriding purpose of your local church to prepare and bring a holy bride to Christ?
Next, we need to commit to the prayer factor. We are to daily prayer that God will turn our obstacles into His opportunities. If we are not praying about our cause, then we either do not think the cause is God-given or we are not depending upon God to help us accomplish it. If evangelism is not worth praying about, then we do not fully understanding the importance of it.
We need to conclude this journey with the people factor. Choose your friends carefully. There are people who make deposits and there are those who make withdrawals. If you spend more time with those who take and instead of those who give, then one day you will be overdrawn as a leader. I encourage you arrange quality time with fellow leaders who will one day turn your dreams into teams.
ENFORCE YOUR CHARACTER
We need to learn how to discipline our personal decisions. When we know where we going then we do not take every exit on the road to effective ministry. We learn to choose between good and best. Ultimately, we even learn the difference not only between right and wrong but between right and right. There are times when two opportunities can appear to be right ones. However, when the minister knows exactly where he/she is going then the decision-making process becomes more exact over the years.
Also, we need to discipline our personal desires. There are times that we must set aside ball games, television, vacations, etc. There is no easy way or fast way to developing effective evangelistic leadership. We are going in the direction of our most dominating thought in life. I urge you to remember that small doors can open to big rooms. Never judge the size of the opportunity by the size of the door.
We need to discipline our personal priorities. There is one place where God will not work. He will not work in second place in our lives. He must have first place in every area of our lives. We must not squander or waste our time. When our professional life outpaces our personal life, then we will have stress and will bring stress to other people. We must always continue to grow. We must not pull over and park in life.
Do you think God calls us to bring a bride to Jesus Christ, but does not give us the needed gifts or skills to accomplish His purpose for our lives? God has given us gifts, not toys. We must use these gifts to help fulfill the Great Commission. Many people are wasting their gifts and, thus, are getting little in return.
ENLIST YOUR COMRADES
Are you a cooperative person? Have you learned to delegate? Have you ever noticed that even though each snowflake is different, when enough different snowflakes get together, they can stop traffic? Over the years, I have learned many principles in life. One is that, when God calls us to a task that is bigger than ourselves, then he brings people around us who are capable of helping us to accomplish the task together. When the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about a particular cause, He is also speaking to like-minded people who He desires to bring together to accomplish the specific task. If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing it with others. We must never forget that when we die, we leave everything we have behind, but we will take everything we are with us.
Do you truly desire to have effective evangelistic leadership? Are you willing to go through the process for success? If the process is incorrect, then the product will not be correct. Poor process equals poor product. I urge you to:
1) establish your cause,
2) examine your conditions,
3) encourage your confidence,
4) enforce your character, and
5) enlist your comrades!
Your Fellow Servant
-Dr. James Davis
GPN President & Co-Founder