Things Pastors of Evangelistic Churches Say
This week, I had the opportunity to facilitate a Breakout at the Louisiana Baptists Evangelism Conference with three men that lead churches with great Evangelistic culture in Louisiana. Jacob Crawford – Life Point Mansura, Willis Easley – Christ’s Community Denham Springs, & Checkerz Williams – Celebration LaPlace. (See my previous post for a bit of bio on them & their churches). These churches are responsible for 100’s of baptisms each year. We threw out several questions designed to just get them talking, so that we could glean insights & be inspired. These men had never met each other before this conference, but it was interesting to hear how many of the same things came out of their mouths related to creating an evangelistic culture. Here’s some things they said over & over that have stuck with me:
“It’s about casting vision.”
Checkerz Williams said he uses the statement “Can you imagine what our community would be like if…?” to get people to see the possibilities.
“We teach people, ‘It’s not about you.'”
Willis Easley said at least monthly they tell people to turn to the person next to you & say “It’s not about you.” And interestingly enough the other two churches do the same thing!
“Our church looks like our community.”
Life Point is 60% white, 40% African-American, which matches the demographics of the community it is in. Celebration LaPlace is 55% African-American, 35% white, 10% Hispanic, which matches the demographics of the community it is in. Each of these churches are diverse, multi-ethnic churches. A lot of people talk about diversity & multi-ethnic ministry, but what I’m learning is that diversity & multi-ethnic church development is a product of an evangelistic culture.
“We share the Gospel at every gathering.”
Each church makes the gospel an important part of every service. Jacob Crawford said, “Never assume that everyone believes. Assume the opposite & share the gospel.” And these leaders go out of the way to share the gospel in ways that are reproducible & easily picked up by others. Willis Easley says, He uses the Roman Road EVERY time he shares the gospel from the Pulpit, because it’s easily picked up by others.
“We love people to Christ.”
Service & outreach to the community is of course a major part of the ministries of each of these churches. Christ’s Community & Celebration Church both sponsor a big day of service at least annually, where everyone takes on outreach & evangelism projects together.
“We started an additional service to reach more people.”
Each of these churches have started multiple services to add capacity for reaching new people for Christ.
“We encourage people to pray for friends that are not believers.”
Each of these churches have a system in place for people to identify people in their relational network who are without Christ & pray for them. For Celebration it’s the FRAN list – Friends, Relatives, Associates, Neighbors. For Christ’s Church it’s called the High 5’s.
“We network with community leaders.”
Being involved in the community is important to each of these churches. “Building bridges not barriers” – Checkerz Williams.
“We baptize people that become believers quickly.”
Baptisms are down across the Southern Baptist Convention, so I was very curious as to what the process these churches have for baptism. Each said they baptize people very soon after they make a decision. Checkerz Williams says their baptistry at Celebration LaPlace is ALWAYS full & ready. Ushers at Life Point show up early & ask every Sunday, “How many do we have today?” in reference to baptisms. Their is an attitude of expectancy in these churches that people will be getting saved, so lets get ready to baptize them.
“We equip & train members of the church to do the work of evangelism.”
It was clear that for these men, their role is to equip the people & groups to do evangelism. So, from modeling, to training, to keying on reproducible processes, the desire is for the entire church to own evangelism of the lost community.
Great conversation. What do you need to add to your vocabulary this year related to your church’s culture? These sayings will be a great start.
Here’s a few other great quotes from our session:
- Willis Easley – “When I saw that we had only baptized 5 or 6 in a year, I got alone with God, & said, ‘Lord, we’re not doing what you called us to do.'”
- Jacob Crawford – “We cast a vision for community transformation. Avoyelles Parish’s suicide rate is similar to North Korea. We teach people that only Jesus can fix this.”
- Checkerz Williams – “Our Baptistry stays full. We talk about it every Sunday. Once per year we do a Baptism emphasis. You’ve got to keep it in front of people.”
- Willis Easley – “If you’re not sharing the gospel with lost people, you won’t be baptizing many people.”
- Willis Easley – “Southern Baptist have been trying to harvest in fields in which we haven’t sown.”
- Jacob Crawford – “The biggest obstacle to evangelism in our church was ME, the Pastor. I had to get out of the way & equip the members to do the work of the ministry.”