by Reid Smith
Every Christ-follower is called to advance The Great Commission. Yet, 80% of believers rate themselves as ineffective in sharing their faith. Since we are called to obey Jesus in fulfilling this call and we only have a short time on earth to do so, we need a plan. Group leaders can set the stage for effective group outreach and help those connected with them recognize every outreach opportunity God puts in their lives with these practices:
- Be sure everyone understands. Take time to provide your group with an upfront explanation of group outreach and why it’s important to the health of your group.
- Be sure everyone is involved. Come to a consensus on how your group will reach out, getting input from each member. Make this part of your group’s “standard operating procedures.” How will each member contribute? How frequently will you pursue these opportunities? Will it be in addition to a group meeting or in place of one?
- Be sure to lead the way. Take initiative by inviting people to your group. It’s important for you as the group leader to model inviting people to your group and letting your group know when you do. That’s not being prideful—it’s being a champion of outreach! This encourages people in your group to take steps toward inviting their friends. They don’t have to fear being rejected (Matt. 10:40; John 12:47-50).
- Be sure to pray. Lead your group in praying for God to open doors for each member to invite their unreached/unchurched friends to find a place of belonging in your group. This can be incorporated into every group meeting and helps your group become more missionally-minded.
- Be sure everyone is intentional. Encourage group members to invite friends. Let them know that extending an invitation to come to your group/church can be a natural outgrowth of conversations they’re already having with people they know. All they’re doing is sharing an opportunity for friends to join them, if their schedule allows.
- Be sure to set goals. Have each group member write a list of people who are in their sphere of influence, focusing on one or more person they’d like to pray for, love on, and invite to the group.
- Be sure everyone is on board. “Check-in” with your group members periodically. Ask how they are doing in developing relationships with people they intend on inviting.
- Be sure to applaud efforts. Affirm the proactive efforts of group members, and stand behind them with prayer as they are obedient to what God has called them to do.
The Bible shows us how Jesus sent His disciples out two-by-two and the Apostle Paul had fellow-workers when he was on mission. Why should we think differently? Group members can find the encouragement they need to be courageous in sharing their faith when they prepare by putting these practices into action. Your group will become stronger and more effective at reaching those yet to know Jesus when you set the stage for personal and group evangelism.