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Suggestions for developing an Evangelism Ministry outside the church. The following questions and comments will serve as stimulation for enhancing your Outside the Church Evangelism. I. EVANGELISM IN THE CHURCH'S NEIGHBORHOOD
outside the church
The following questions and comments will serve as stimulation for enhancing your Outside the Church Evangelism.
I. EVANGELISM IN THE CHURCH'S NEIGHBORHOOD
A. Through neighborhood signs1. Does the local community allow directional signs to the church (up to 1/4 mile from the church)? Consider contacting the city hall for a permit or approval. Also, property owners might allow signs to be placed on their property (behind the road right of way).---a. are the signs kept up and attractive?---b. do the signs accurately direct people to the church?2. Does the church have an attractive sign, clearly visible from the road, on the church property?---a. are the worship and Sunday School times listed?---b. is the sign lighted at night?---c. is the sign well maintained (weeded, repainted etc.)?
---a. are the letters large enough to read from a driving-by distance?---b. are the messages changed weekly? (It might help to establish a Reader Board Ministry Team to make sure the messages are relevant and appropriate. Some churches have an after-church message and then a new sermon topic message by Thursday each week. This takes time and energy, but it communicates our caring for the community.)
B. Through community information1. Is the church a member of the Chamber of Commerce?2. Does the church provide informational brochures for the Chamber of Commerce?3. Is the church information posted on the Supermarket bulletin boards?4. Are special church events posted on these bulletin boards?5. Are the church worship times listed in the local hotel/motel information packets?6. Is the information kept up to date?
6. Does the church provide on-going media programming?---a. contact a local radio or TV station for a possible 30 sec. to 1 min. “Thought for the Day (or week)” spot in their program (a Media Evangelism Team will need to be created to produce these).
---b. consider producing a 2 minute faith-sharing video (see “Guidelines for Video Sharing” produced by David Valera at the Seattle PNW UMC Conference Office or on the PNW Conference web site www.pnwumc.org under “Ministries”, then under “Evangelism”). These videos could be used during the worship service.
---c. consider producing a 30 min to 1 hour audio or video program dealing with “Christians in local Ministry”. This might best be created in cooperation with other churches in the area, and the local radio or TV station would first have to be willing to include it in their programming.
---a. does it include an up-to-date calendar?
---b. are the "home page" announce-ments and information changed often to keep it "fresh"?
---d. do these links provide needed detail information about upcoming events?
---e. are items removed immediately after an event has passed?
D. Through the local media 1. Does the church advertise in the Yellow Pages, listing church location and time of services?
2. Does the church advertise in the local newspaper, listing church location and time of services?
3. Does the church pay to advertise special events open to the public?4. Does the church regularly submit articles for the "religion" page (usually free)?5. Does the church provide the local cable channel with information about special church events (usually free)?
---a. permission must be obtained from the individuals in
---b. are these pictures changed often to keep viewers returning to the web site?
---c. is an exterior picture of the church included on the web site?
6. Does the web site include a map and directions to the church?
7. Is the web site domain (URL address) printed in the
bulletin, in brochures, on church letterhead, on the sign in
front of the church and on the projection screen, inviting
people to view the web site for information about the
church and details to upcoming events?
8. Does the web site provide the viewer with the vision and
mission of the church?
10. Does the web site include the pastor's sermons?
11. For further evaluating questions, see http://www.internetevangelismday.com/church-site-design.php These are good questions that need to be answered!
2. Does the church sponsor or participate in neighborhood improvement efforts?---a. set up a local “Block Watch” program? (contact local police for details).---b. sponsor or participate in a clean-up of a local park?---c. sponsor or participate in a community-building campaign?---d. sponsor or participate in clean up of graffiti in the neighborhood? ---e. provide a recreational facility for the area young people, such as a basketball court
3. Does the church participate in local parades and enter a float
1. Does the church conduct an immediate
(walking distance) neighbor survey? Two by two
door-to-door visitation is the only way to provide
an accurate "needs assessment" of the needs of
the people closest to the church.
2. Choose the area on a map, recruit and train
visiting teams and assign them streets, etc. to
3. the name of the church and the names of the
visitors should be clearly visible to those being
---a. It might help for each team to carry a
large (8X11") picture of the church exterior to hold
to help the people recognize the church in their
---b. introduce yourselves and tell them that you represent your church.
---c. explain that your church wants to be effective in its ministry to the people in the neighborhood and if they have time could they answer three simple questions (be prepared with notebook to take down their answers.) The following are suggestions:------1. Are area residents aware of the church in the neighborhood?------2. Do they know of a particular need in the community that is not being met?------3. Is there anything that the church might do for them?
---d. be prepared to answer questions about the church.------1. Visitors should know what they believe (have a faith-story to share).------2. Visitors should know why they believe (an on-going trust in Jesus)?------3. Visitors should be vulnerable (if they do not know an answer to a question, they can say "I don't know that, but I'll try to find out."------4. The visitor should later try to find the answer, and then get back to the neighbor with an answer.
---e. thank them and leave a church brochure. (There are many other questions the visiting team might ask, and a variety of things that the team might leave with their neighbors, but the team must not be pushy to promote the church or ask them any personal questions, such as their names and "are you married?" or "do you have any children?" etc.)
4. If no one is home, leave an up-to-date church brochure at the doorstop (preferably in a plastic bag hung on the doorknob.)5. Take additional notes after the doorstop visit: The address, home type (single, duplex, condo, apartment, etc.) and any other information that might help the church be in ministry to the family.6. Bring the information gleaned back to the church for the Evangelism Team. (The suggestions for ministry should also be shared with the Missions Team.)
7. Follow up with a thank you letter to all those who responded addressed "to our neighbor" expressing gratitude for their help.8. If the church implements any of a neighbor's suggestions, follow up with another thank you and share what the church will be doing.9. Evangelism Team members should look for their neighbors who come to church and make a point to greet them and if possible sit with them.
G. Through neighborhood Mailings1. Even though mailings are not as effective as personal contacts, the mail is one way of introducing the church to the community. Mailings are especially helpful for Christmas and Easter promotions and for promoting special events. The most effective mailing is one that offers to meet particular needs. Very effective tools for evangelism are offered through www.outreach.com, especially mailing material.2. Limit the area mailing. Begin with the neighborhood as a follow-up to the visitation.
3. Contact the local Post Office for the particular Carrier Route that covers your neighborhood. (It is helpful to bring your marked map to the mailing area.)4. Since mailing is very expensive, make sure the costs are included in the church budget.5. If possible, include a small picture of the church on the mailing to help the neighbors identify the church. These could be included on larger return address mailing labels.
A. Through local "Food & Shelter" ministry1. Does your church provide food for those in need?---a. provide a room stocked with non-perishable food?---b. open to the public at certain hours of the week with church volunteers?2. Does your church participate in local Food Bank programs?---a. collect and provide food for the Food Bank?---b. participate in sorting and serving at the Food Bank?
3. Does the church participate in the community street missions such as the Union Gospel Mission or Salvation Army?
---a. volunteer to provide food and clothing?---b. volunteer to provide emergency housing?---c. volunteer to provide short devotional messages?4. Are the local Mission Teams from your church trained to share the Good News of Jesus Christ along with their service?
B. Through an emergency help ministry1. Does the church have an “Emergency Fund” in its ministry? (Sometimes this fund is referred to as the “Pastor’s Discretionary Fund).---a. providing gasoline vouchers? (Rather than giving money, establish an agreement with a local gas station to accept gas vouchers, which could be certificates printed by your church for a specific amount. The church should then pay the gas station as soon as possible.)---b. providing food vouchers? (Rather than giving money, establish an agreement with a local grocery store to accept church checks for a specific amount for food only. Or set up an agreement with the grocery stores for food vouchers, which could be certificates printed by your church for a specific amount for food only. The church should then pay the grocery store as soon as possible.
C. Through a local school ministry1. All schools have “children at risk”. Contact a local grade school and ask if they would be interested in having church members “tutor” or help some of the “at risk” children with their homework or with particular academic needs. This would be focused on meeting the children’s needs and not on recruiting or converting them.
2. Ask if the school would be interested in training some of the church members for their volunteer work. Often families begin to attend the church in response to the church’s caring!3. Ask the school authorities if there are children with particular needs that might be met by church members. Often schools will mention shoes or clothing.
D. Through a language tutoring ministry1. There are often people new in the community or our country who need help with their English speaking skills. 2. For example, “Talk Time” is a part of Hopelink in the Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline and Sno-Valley area. (See www.hope-link.org) Guidelines and help are available if there are persons interested in helping others with English as second language (ESL) skills. Hopelink will promote and advertize the church’s participation. It is not necessary to be fluent in the other’s language. Most of the time friendships are established and the clients may become part of the church!
E. Through a scouting ministry1. Many churches sponsor Boy Scouts and/or Cub Scouts as part of their outreach to the community by providing the troop or pack the use of the church facilities. 2. Troops and Packs require an “Institutional Representative” as part of their leadership. This is an opportunity to become directly involved with the troop or pack!3. Church pastors or church leaders can also conduct a “God and Country Award” class for the scouts (contact the local scouting Council office for materials). This usually lasts for a year and it involves an understanding of the Christian faith. The God and Country scouts are also required to participate in the church’s ministry!
F. Through local Nursing & Retirement Home ministry1. Does the church participate in a ministry to local nursing homes?---a. train and send members to sit and listen and share their faith with the residents?---b. provide volunteers to lead a weekly devotional service?---c. conduct a Sunday morning worship service for those who cannot attend church?2. Does the church participate in a ministry to local retirement homes?---a. provide a weekly devotional or worship service?---b. provide rides to church on Sunday mornings or for special church events?
G. Through local Hospital ministry1. Does the church recruit and train volunteers for the local hospital? (Check with the hospital chaplain about the requirements for volunteers.)2. Is the church allowed to place "non-denominational" Christian helps booklets in the waiting room?3. Does the church participate in "Stephen Ministries"? This is a complete system for training and organizing lay people to provide one-to-one Christian care to hurting people in and around your congregation. For more information, see www.stephenministry.org. These persons are also trained to share their faith in Jesus Christ. (Often the Stephen Ministry training is offered by the hospital for their volunteers.)
H. Through a local Cooperative or Ecumenical Evangelism ministry1. Does the church see their evangelism ministry as worldwide, regardless of denomination?2.Does the church cooperate with other "same denomination" churches in offering Jesus Christ to the community? Local Christian churches who have a heart for evangelism can work together and have a much greater impact on a local community by sharing expenses and lay workers and targeting areas with a unified message of the Good News.3. Does the church cooperate and work with other denominations in the community in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ?
I. Through a County-Wide Evangelism ministry1. Does the church cooperate in sponsoring a Christian booth at the County Fair?2. Does the church have a representative assigned to a cooperative ministry?3. Is a cooperative evangelism ministry in the church budget?4. At an event (County Fair, etc.) are church members involved in an outreach ministry booth?---a. giving away free Bibles (shared costs)?---b. providing brochures (hopefully with all the churches participating)?---c. taking turns being available to answer questions?
J. Other Local MinistriesThere are many other local ministries that the church might consider as evangelism as long as participants are willing and prepared to share their “why we do this” Christian faith story!
Faith is putting into practice what we say we believe. This faith work needs to begin in the church, where we receive our training and get to practice so that others might see Jesus in how we live. But living what we say we believe is the most effective evangelism outside the church!