Getting Started - Home Page
Each of these steps are much like the soul winning process, they can take days, months, or even years. DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Some people God has already prepared and are ready for step 4. Other souls need nurturing and are unsure the Bible can be trusted or that God exists. They may think truth can not really be found or that 'all paths' lead to heaven. They may worry your church is some kind of cult or to extreme for them. The great thing about having a cycle of evangelism is your church is ready for people at any stage. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to do all 5 steps EVERY SINGLE YEAR, over and over and over!!! The steps may even get 're-arranged'. Example: you may develop a friendship and then invite them to an "opening" wedge. After reading the following please also ready - Evangelism Plan if you haven't already. A list of the programs for each of the 5 steps can be seen here.
1. ENTERING WEDGE: Hold an "entering wedge" Health/Community Program – CHIP, Depression Recovery, Cooking School, Marriage Seminar, Stop Smoking program, Small Group meeting, handing out tracts, media ministry, or starting another personal outreach project.
You may choose to do more than one or even several of these. Pick the program you think will work best in your area and better yet chose two or three and do them every year to establish a presence in your community. How do you pick a program? There are three basic styles of programs to choose from:
1. Health, Poor & Needy, the Right Arm of the Gospel
2. Common Interest Programs
3. Indirect Contact
Some programs lead more toward a spiritual awakening by the nature of the program itself (such as the Depression Recovery Program), but you need a clear direction whatever program you choose. Other programs are just ‘friendship’ evangelism, and work ONLY if key people really make friends with new contacts. Unfortunately, I’ve seen over and over a breakdown in this next step (I am sorry to say even I have failed in this area). We can be friendly at the meetings and at church but not go out of the way to become real friends with the people. This leads to the next step, friendship.
2. BUILDING TRUST & RELATIONSHIPS: Continue with Friendship Development
This MUST happen throughout the entire process. Each new contact needs a SPECIFIC church member to mentor and be friend them. This cannot be ‘left to chance’ even in a small church. We need to actually assign church members to the new contacts or at least mentally take note that each contact is being be-friended by a church member. The director of a program cannot take on 10 or 30 new ‘friends’ each year, there is just not enough time in a day. This means we not only need to learn about the new people but we need to know our own church members so we can effectively assign compatible partnerships. We need to “be” friends not just “friendly”
3. MOVING FROM HEALTH/FRIENDSHIP TO SPIRITUAL TOPICS: Follow up with a Transitional Program that leads people toward a more spiritual/doctrinal focus.
THIS IS a completely undeveloped area in our churches and personally why I believe we lose so many people at evangelistic meetings. Christ did this in a matter of minutes, it may take us days, weeks, or even years. There are two separate types of transitional programs:
1. Programs for the Un-churched: We need to make people open to/curious about spiritual things. Is there a God? What about Evolution? (Depression Recovery Program does encourage people to read the Bible even if they don’t believe it to help with frontal lobe development – we have seen several people from the DRP join the Daniel study for at least the first 1 or 2 nights.) and other programs.
2. Programs for the Churched: The sheep not of this fold. Does it really matter what you believe? There is ONE truth, ONE Bible, ONE God. How can you give up what you have always believed? (Once this is established these contacts likely can move into a "harvest" program see #4.)
4. The HARVEST: Evangelistic Series (any prophecy or doctrinal series) Whatever works for your church. Of course often this step is done on its own and still has some results because GOD has already done steps 1 to 4. The Holy Spirit is very active reaching out to every soul. IF you are going to skip any of the steps do not skip the harvest.
5. DISCIPLESHIP: Mentoring new members/converts. We are NOT once saved, always saved as we always have the power of choice! Help others to keep choosing life! Continue with friendship development. By now you should really be caring about the new people in your life. Get them involved in outreach. One VERY successful Adventist church has a policy that ALL new members (baptised or transfered in) MUST participant in one of the evangelims projects within 6 months.
One of the most important parts of effective public outreach is to have a consistent cycle of evangelism. This will make your presence known in the community and allow people a second, third, or more chances to say yes. There is a testimony of a family who heard the radio ads for a DVD series over and over for years before finally deciding to go. They remember each time it seemed to call to them more and more every time they heard the ad over the radio year after year. Their curiosity finally got the better of them. They were baptized after the meetings they attended.