Can local churches still reach lost people with the Gospel? According to David Burton, former evangelism director for Florida Baptist Convention, the answer is yes.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention Evangelism Team, in partnership with Kentucky Baptist associational and church leadership, recently hosted Burton at six locations at Refocus: Event Evangelism to equip Kentucky Baptist church leaders to become more effective and intentional in reaching people through outreach events. The motivation for bringing Burton to Kentucky came from the fact that Kentucky Baptist churches consistently offer outreach events that are well attended by unchurched and de-churched people, but we do not always capitalize on the evangelistic opportunity afforded by these events.
He used an acrostic based on the word "EVENTS" to outline some priorities for our events. According to Burton, events must be:
E = Exciting: Burton says our events should have an excitement about them that will be contagious to those planning the event as well as those who are in attendance.
V = Vitality: These events, according to Burton, should be life giving. We have the good news of Jesus Christ so whatever we do feels alive.
E = Equipping: In preparation for the event we can equip church members in evangelism, hospitality, Gospel conversations, and more.
N = New: The event may not be a new event, but it may be new to the church doing it. New things are exciting for churches and generally have a freshness about them that other things may not have.
T = Tailor-made: The event should be a fit for the church hosting it to reflect the community and cultural context as well as utilize the gifts and resources of the church.
S = Soul-winning: The events we do must have an evangelistic element to them. Burton encouraged those in attendance that any organization can organize block parties and trunk-of-treats gatherings but only the church has the good news of Jesus Christ, and we must remember who we are and what we are called to be about.
How can a local church of any size offer effective evangelistic events?
1. Host events that lost and unchurched people will attend: Individuals and families that may not attend our church services will be open to attending Vacation Bible School, block parties, wild game suppers, fall festivals and Halloween alternative gatherings, and more.
2. Gather contact information from all in attendance: Find a system for registering every person who attends the event. One way to do this is to tape off the event area and have one entrance where all participants are registered as they enter.
3. Share the Gospel and extend an invitation at each event: Remember we are a church and we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can share Jesus through personal evangelism, testimonies, and brief Gospel presentations at the event.
4. Greet the guests and get to know them: This is a chance to meet our neighbors and begin to build relationships that may become bridges to the Gospel.
5. Follow up with every unchurched person who attends: Make the follow-up team part of the planning process and follow-up with each person who is not affiliated with a local church.
Events are not the only way for Kentucky Baptist Churches to share the Gospel with our communities, but they are one way, and if done right they can be a great way to meet people from the community and share the good news of Jesus with others who need Him.
Let us help you plan your next event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Todd Gray at (270) 889-4276. Kentucky Baptist Convention was created by churches for churches to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Our desire is to help Kentucky Baptist churches become more intentionally evangelistic so that we may be faithful to Jesus and win the lost to Him.