Years ago, when everyone went to church, you didn’t need much of a strategy for reaching people. Everyone already came to church, so the strategy was not much more than (1) call a good preacher and (2) start good Sunday School classes. Then the people would hear and respond to the gospel when they come. And for those who didn’t come often enough, schedule a revival with a good preacher. It was simple and effective.
As more and more people stopped coming to church, churches grew frustrated, because that simple strategy doesn’t work for people who don’t come. As one long term member kept telling me every Sunday in his southern drawl, “If they’d a’been here, you’d a’had ’em.”
But they weren’t there, so we didn’t reach them. Now, we’re having to come up with a better strategy to reach people with the gospel.
Here’s our simple strategy–I, I, I, and I. It’s not just the job of the preacher. It requires all of us to practice this four part strategy often.
Invest in the lives of people who don’t know Jesus. Love them. Help them. Talk to them. Minister to them when they’re hurting. Show God’s love to people.
Intercede for them. It’s a fancy word that just means to pray for people. Ask God to reveal Himself to them. And ask God to open up a door to talk to them.
Invite them to church. Or to a women’s event. Or to a Sunday School class. Or to a children’s event. Or to a special event of any type at our church. Or to your home and show them a Billy Graham video.
Introduce them to Jesus. After the event, ask them a simple question. “You heard us talk about Jesus. What do you believe about Jesus.” And after they tell you . . . then you tell them what you believe.
*This I-I-I-I strategy is not something I dreamed up. I get my best ideas from others. Some years back, three of the I’s (Invest, Invite, and Introduce) were articulated by Andy Stanley. We just added the Intercede part, because we believe strongly in prayer!