Seven Steps towards a Greater Gospel Focus in Your Church

Sam Rainer

July 17, 2016


Most of the unchurched are not anti-church. Few are highly antagonistic to the gospel. In fact, only about 5% of unchurched Americans are highly antagonistic to the gospel. Euangelion is the Greek word for good news, or gospel. Have believers today lost the “good” in good news? Negativity undoubtedly sells. Negative news reports get more eyeballs, as do negative posts on social media and blogs.

Eighty percent of churchgoers believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, yet 61% of them had not told another person about Christ in the last six months. The vast majority of Christians believe they should share their faith, but few actually do. Christians should be eternal optimists. The good news should compel us outward with love. If you’re leading a church, what can you do about the fact that most believers don’t share their faith?

Step 1: Admit the problem. In my own denomination, baptism follows conversion, and 25% of churches baptize no one in a given year. Additionally, more than half of churches in my denomination baptize less than one person every two months. Your church may be an anomaly, but most are struggling to reach people for Christ. And church leaders must do more than recognize the statistical reality. Church leaders must admit they are part of the problem as well.

Step 2: Lead by example. Evangelistic churches have evangelistic leaders. Though not an impossibility, I’ve yet to hear of an outwardly-focused church with inwardly-focused leaders. You cannot expect your church members to share their faith if you’re not leading the charge. Make it a goal to share your faith with someone every week. The median church size is 75 people. That means in most churches, if the leaders simply fulfill their responsibility of sharing the gospel, the church will grow.

Step 3: Stay positive. The gospel is good news. If you rant the gospel, it’s not the gospel. It’s just religious bluster, which does no good. Your tone is important, not as important as content, but close. The prosperity gospel warps the good news, but the poverty gospel sucks the life out of it. The gospel doesn’t bring your earthly riches. Neither does the gospel require extreme asceticism. But all Christians should be positive people. Without sacrificing sincerity and authenticity (life can be hard), the best way to share your faith is to focus on the good of the good news.

Step 4: Preach it. The lead pastor must regularly preach and teach about the importance of evangelism. The pulpit and platform are the means of communicating with an entire church. What gets communicated to the entire church is perceived as most important. Use the main stage to deliver the most central message: the gospel is meant to be shared.

Step 5: Train it. Preaching about the importance of sharing the gospel is one way to convey the gravity of being outwardly focused. But preaching is not enough. Each small group setting is an excellent place to do annual training on evangelism. These smaller settings enable people to ask questions and interact with teachers.

Step 6: Mentor it. Every pastor and church leader should have at least one mentee. One of the most critical aspects of mentoring someone in the church is demonstrating to him or her how to share the gospel. If your spiritual mentoring does not include evangelism, then you’re missing a big opportunity.

Step 7: Celebrate it. You become what you celebrate. If your church celebrates evangelism, then people will likely become more evangelistic. You should elevate the gospel over other aspects of church life. Tell the story of life change in people. A church that celebrates the new birth in Christ is more likely to think outwardly than a church that doesn’t celebrate it.

Most churches need a cultural change in order to become more evangelistic. In many churches, years have passed without much of an outward focus, and evangelistic atrophy has set in. The culture of many churches has slowly become one of an inward focus. These seven steps are more technical in nature. Realistically, one evangelism training session won’t do much for a church that hasn’t thought outwardly in years. However, repeating these seven steps consistently will begin the process gradually shifting the culture of the church. After a couple of years, or perhaps even a few months, you might just find many people in your church getting excited about sharing the gospel again.

This post is an excerpt from a research article I wrote for Church Answers Monthly. It’s part of a premier coaching ministry with Thom Rainer.


10 comments on “Seven Steps towards a Greater Gospel Focus in Your Church”

  1. Dixon Murrah says:

    So very true but so sad.

    The only way we teach anything from algebra to welding and witnessing is by “example.” We in the ministry have to set the right example.

  2. Excellent, insightful, and very helpful. Thank you Brother.

  3. There are two churches in the world. There is the “established” Christian very religious church that is Roman in its foundation out of which almost no one shares Jesus because this church doesn’t really know Him and there is the non-popular Kingdom of God true church of which Jesus lived,died, and was resurrected for. Both churches have a gospel. The established church has Paul’s gospel (Romans 2:16 and 2 Timothy 2:8) which is a revelation of Jesus the Christ after His ascension. This gospel is about Jesus Christ according to Paul and is the basis of the “Christian religion”. Then, there is the gospel of Jesus Christ as He intended for us to witness in the world in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”. The end of confusion, the end of misleading God’s people, the end of the worldly church; all this is ending now, even as I write because Jesus said it would and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached in spite of the “established” church. What gospel are you focused on Sam?

  4. Al Magness says:

    Our church is using Can We Talk to our community with the gospel. This makes for great bikes in our church and we’re seeing people surrender their lives to Christ. It’s the right thing to do .

  5. Al Magness says:

    Correction: Our church is using Can We Talk to engage our community with the gospel. This makes for great times in our church and we’re seeing people surrender their lives to Christ. It’s the right thing to do .

  6. Excellent. I sometimes still look back wistfully to the days when we set up tents and filled them night after night with people who liked what was preached and testified to. Many came openly seeking and many went home found’! Yet even that was a substitute for what should have been happening; every believer living out as Jesus’ witness; the ‘good news’ Who came for all people.

    In today’s church world of professionalism, we still get it wrong by making evangelism a salaried position in the church staff!!

  7. Ben, a pastor and planter in San Francisco, shares five simple steps for your church to engage your city. Matt reminds us that pastors are to equip the saints for the work of ministry. But our need for control often usurps our desire to equip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *