I have discovered one common dilemma among all denominations as I travel across America speaking in churches. Everywhere I meet Christians who love the Lord but do not have direction on how to share Christ. These people are frustrated. Everywhere I meet pastors and staff who don’t know how to help their members share Christ. They, too, are frustrated. This is one reason I believe my message is so well received.
“The most fertile soil for the gospel your congregation has is your visitors,” I tell them. “They are the ones who are going to be your new converts, new volunteers, new leaders and teachers in your church. Your future as a church lies in your weekly visitors.”
How many visitors do you have in one year? If you multiply the number of your “regular attendees” by 150%, the result will be the minimum number of visitors you have in one year. “This is your #1 mission field,” I tell them.
Your church grows on the outgrowth of your visitors like a tree grows upon the previous ring of a tree trunk. It is new people who bring in new people. They do it spontaneously and without urging when they have found a church they like and that likes them. By new people, I mean those who are new to your church within the last three years. These are the ones automatically bringing in their friends to your church.
These new people are your biggest advertisers. Again, they do it spontaneously like a movie-goer who sees a new movie. In the next week your movie-goer will tell 5-10 people about the movie he has just seen. Your visitor will tell 5-10 people in the next week about being in your church. What will he report?
The most important thing he will say is how friendly or unfriendly your church was. If it was unfriendly, he will call your church a four letter word: COLD! In that statement he will chase away 5-10 people from ever possibly entering your doors to hear the gospel.
How does this help solve our evangelism dilemma? The problem is solved by Friendliness. If your regulars are taught to be friendly to new people, more of your visitors will return to your church. “I see a visitor as an ice cube with a red cherry in it. The ice is the resistances your visitor has toward: being in a new group, being associated with your denomination, being in your worship style, etc. It is everyone’s job to reach out to the visitor and make him feel welcome. When your visitor feels welcome and you get to know him, you melt away his resistance ice so the gospel can reach into his cherry heart.
The layman’s friendliness prepares the way for Christ to be presented by the Pastor and the Worship Team. When the layman understands his vital roll in bringing people to Christ, his frustration ends and he is motivated. When the Pastor and staff see new people being welcomed as new friends, they are energized to present the good news of Jesus Christ to this fertile soil. The layman and the staff are now working in partnership with purpose to present the gospel to their community.
Rich Liedtke crosses the country giving seminars on “How to Be a Master Greeter.” It is also the title of his book which is being used in over 3100 churches worldwide. You may visit his website at www.Mastergreeter.com.
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