Firemen are awesome first-responders. They run toward the action. And when they arrive, they know what to do and how to do it.
Here are five evangelism ideas to spark your thinking as God’s Fire Investigator.
1. Where did the fire start?
A home across the street from me once burned because a garage had faulty wiring. You can’t always look at someone and know the wiring in their heart. Engage them in conversations that are caring and genuine.
The lost today hesitate to come to a church. It’s a strange, out of touch world to them. They are much more comfortable in your home. And some are wide open to hosting a Bible study in their own home.
2. What clues did the fire-starter leave behind?
An arsonist’s explosion can quickly set little fires in a wide arc. A careless cigarette may smolder in a leaf-filled gutter, eventually setting an entire house ablaze.
How did you come to faith in Christ? What was done with you is what you’ll repeat. It’s what you consider “normal.” That tends to be what you’ll repeat, even if it’s not easily replicated.
In the original Star Trek series, one episode involved furry creatures that were born pregnant. Will you help a new believer go witness to a person who needs Jesus? (It’s a boy!) What does it take your new small group to start two others? (Twins!) Can a new church plant already be planning their first three plants? (Triplets!)
3. What accelerants came together to spread the fire?
Fire is self-sustaining, but only with certain accelerants present. We are admonished not to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The godly counterparts for oxygen and flammable material include the Spirit of God and the Gospel mixing with tinder-dry souls.
We don’t need to debate the value of a traditional legacy church or a house church. It’s the body of Christ at work, not under just any purpose, but knowing how to rightly handle the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) in a way that spreads the Gospel fire.
4. What structural elements contributed to the blaze?
Individuals can set many spiritual fires for the Lord as they share Jesus. However, leadership in a healthy church provides the structure needed to keep it going long-term.
A men’s ministry leader I counseled in southwest Missouri wanted to get a witnessing fire burning in his church. I made sure to include the idea of a monthly meeting for accountability, trouble-shooting, and encouragement. The idea was not to turn witnessing into a program, but provide long-term structure to the effort.
Each element in a church should contribute to not burning-out for Jesus. Worship, prayer, the ordinances, evangelism from a missional lifestyle, missions among all peoples, making disciple-makers, stewardship, and leadership should all contribute to stoking a white-hot zeal in each church’s commitment to making disciples through evangelism.
5. Where did the fire spread?
Wildfires often leap over houses when sparks are picked up by the wind. There’s an outbreak here. Now it’s over there. Tracking movements of the Lord is exciting. Who shared Christ and did they pass it along? Who knows whom? The movement of God does not always follow a neat line.
Barriers to the spread of the Gospel must be identified and minimized. If your fellow church members never interact with anyone on a spiritual level, then their “sparks” of faith cannot spread. As fire must spread to stay alive, so believers must circulate among others. Turn the godly combustion loose!
Take an inventory in your own church. Who is on fire for the Lord? How can you team them up with someone whose wood is wet and get them fired up?
-- Mark Snowden, Director of Missional Leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association