The first time I tried to take the Gospel into the world was very scary. I was in my early teens and was handing out flyers for my church's Vacation Bible School. We decided to target our surrounding neighborhood, going door-to-door with small pamphlets. I recall only one feeling, fear. What if they want to talk to me? What do I say? I was ill prepared to say the least. My hope is that you utilize your church's website to better prepare your members for engaging the world in a discussion about Jesus.
When putting content on our church websites, we often do not think about our existing members. The primary focus is getting people in the door and helping them make the decision to become a believer and/or church members. Yet we forget that many new members are the result of personal conversations and/or an invitation to join them. Giving your members a toolkit can drastically boost the effectiveness of these invitations. Of course the reason I am writing about this is the fact this toolkit should be available on your church's website!
So what should be in your toolkit? Here are a few examples:
A PDF of a one page tri-fold pamphlet is a good start, and is probably the least intimidating. One key advantage is that you can prepare and refine the message of this pamphlet ahead of time. Just remember to go light on color and large photos, as your members will most likely be printing this out on their home printers, and you want to minimize the amount of ink they are using.
Your church leadership can prepare a Q&A sheet with commonly asked questions about your faith. You can cite quotes from books to help modernize and contextualize the language; but do not be afraid to quote scripture. This is especially helpful if you are inviting someone who is already a Christian, but wants to know specifics about your faith, church, or denomination.
It may be an icebreaker at your church, or a Bible study at someone’s home; but it still starts with a personal invitation. Extending that invitation requires some training; and a cheap way to provide it through online videos. There are multi-day classes about approaching people; but anyone with a webcam, backdrop, and some video editing software can provide some basic guidance. See if your church can develop a curriculum and get that photogenic speaker out in front of that camera to present it.
Engaging the outside world can be daunting, especially for hot button topics. Also, defending your faith can be difficult, especially if you are a new believer. But as a church member’s knowledge grows, they will want to follow the great command of making disciples of all nations. Give them the tools they will need to succeed so that they can grow the church, one soul at a time.
Note: This article was inspired by my own experiences as well as a conversation with a friend and Catholic Priest, Monseigneur Thomas Muldowney. His greatest concern for the church was its ability to reach people in our increasingly secular culture.
Photo courtesy of Thad Zajdowicz