Intentional interim pastors usually find themselves called to serve inward-focused churches. This is typically true because we are called to churches that have been through a period of protracted turmoil, because the senior leadership has lost mission and vision, or because other serious problems (e.g., declining income) have drawn the church’s attention in on itself. The interim pastor’s job is to turn this around, but that can be a tall order.
You can stimulate personal evangelism — or at the very least raise awareness of the need — by weaving these 17 easy-to-implement ideas into your preaching and teaching:
1. Map the neighbors. In church one Sunday, ask the congregation to sketch maps of their immediate neighbors (those on either side and the three houses across the street). If the family in a house is Christian, mark it “C,” if they are not mark it “NC,” and if you don’t know mark it “NS.” Then challenge them to connect with the “NC” and “NS.”
2. Pray when you pass a cult meeting place. Urge the congregation to pay attention to the Kingdom Halls and Mormon Stakes on their regular commute, and then to say a quick prayer that the people therein would hear and believe the gospel.
3. Team with another couple for a summer neighborhood Bible study. Have the congregation team up to invite neighbors to a six-week dinner and “investigation” about the evidence for the reliability of the Christian message. Be sure to recommend a resource they can use!
4. Throw a “Know Your Neighbors” BBQ. Most folks in the congregation won’t really know their neighbors. If each family in your church will host a “Know Your Neighbors BBQ” on a Sunday afternoon, a lot of connections will be made. At each gathering, each family or neighbor will give a very short “story” about who they are. Include a short testimony of faith, but keep it low key.
5. Host a “garage giveaway.” Have three or four families from the church team up to have a garage sale. But instead of selling the items, give them away along with a Gospel of John book or a gospel tract.
6. Plan a backyard VBS. Move vacation Bible study out of the church campus. Stage it in various homes around the community. That way your church members will learn which families are concerned for their children’s welfare and can offer additional service and invitation directly to them.