Written by Frank Jamerson.

One of the fastest growing congregations that I know of is the North Livingston congregation in Tampa, Florida (where Buddy Payne preaches). One of the elders, Ed Culp, is supported by the church so he can devote his full time to personal evangelism. Here are some of the main points that he presented about their efforts in reaching the lost.

First, agree that evangelism is not optional. “Knowing, therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus; that if One died for all, then all died” (2 Cor. 5:11,14). Those who are taught and baptized are to teach and baptize others (Mt. 28:19,20). Every child of God should feel the responsibility and look forward to the opportunities to bring others into the family of God. Paul said, “I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also” (Rom. 1:14,15).

Second, pray for the success of  evangelism. When we urge others to work for the Lord, we should be willing to pray for their efforts. The apostle Paul needed the prayers of his brethren. “Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Col. 4:3,4).

Third, we can be a light to those who visit. Some who profess that they want the church to grow will not be friendly to visitors, show them real spiritual worship, or even smile! Ed said that when he sees some brethren come in with a frown on their faces, looking like they are angry with the world and not happy to be with other Christians, he wants to say, “smile, somebody may look at you!” Evangelism involves showing people the joy of being a disciple of Christ. If we act like it disagrees with us, why should others want to try it?

Fourth, reach out to others in their “change” times. There are times when windows of opportunity open. Some of those times are periods of sickness, loss of a loved one, or change of job or location. People who normally would not be receptive to spiritual things may welcome an approach to learn about a better life at such times. Other “change” times are good events. Weddings, or births, are times when people may be more receptive to spiritual approaches. Give them a book on a spiritual subject, or invite them to be a part of a Bible study or to visit church services with you. It is a time to emphasize to them what the Lord means in your life and how you are a better companion or parent because of your relationship with Christ.

Fifth, use opportunities to leave a card (such as our business card with place and times of meetings), or give a leaflet, or tract on some Bible subject. You never know the effects of small things in the kingdom. Each member should constantly be looking for ways to influence others to come to the Lord.

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