Ask Dave, pt.2: How do I motivate my people to share their faith?

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This is part two of a series called, ‘Ask Dave.’ Recently I asked my friends on Facebook what they would like to see me write on for my blog. I will cover two or three questions in each article.

Question: How do you, as pastor, motivate your people to reach out and share the gospel?

Dave: A church, left to itself, will not naturally gravitate towards an outward focus. A church, left to itself, naturally gravitates towards an inward focus. It’s the job of the pastor to not let the church be left to itself. If the pastor values outreach and personal evangelism they will need to pound this value into the hearts and minds of their people. For more on this, read The Pound Principle.

Here are six step to motivate your people to share their faith.

Model. The pastor has to model this value. It’s great when the pastor has stories to tell of his/her personal experiences in sharing their faith with others. The problem with this is that parishoners expect the pastor to be sharing their faith (that’s their job) so testimonies like this have less of an effect than we would hope for.

Define. A while ago George Barna did a study and discovered that an alarmingly high percentage of church goers were unable to define the ‘gospel.’ Don’t assume your people know what you mean when you use words like: outreach, evangelism, sharing your faith, etc.

Demystify. I believe we need to help people see how evangelism can happen naturally throughout the their week. Often when people think of evangelism they think of an ‘evangelist’, or walking up to a complete stranger and telling them about Jesus, or knocking on someone’s door. Being ‘light and salt’ should be a life-style rather than an event.

Equip. Train people how to explain the gospel in one minute or three minutes. Give your people ideas on how to recognize opportunities that present themselves to share their faith. Give them examples of how to initiate a conversation about spiritual things.

Celebrate. As your people begin to step out and share, they will have stories to tell. Give them an opportunity to share these stories on Sunday morning. Celebrate any chance someone had to represent Jesus to someone. Remember the principle: Celebrate what you want to reproduce.

Repeat.

Question: Should the small church have worker’s comp insurance on their pastor? Once I was in an auto accident while out doing visitation for the church. The church had no workman’s comp, but had they, all my medical expenses, and a portion of my salary during recovery, would have been covered by that insurance. Instead my wife and I bore the medical cost on our own, and the church bore the salary cost on their own. Had they had insurance, neither would have had to struggle so much.

Dave: What the church ‘should’ provide for the pastor and what the church ‘can’ provide for the pastor are often two different things. As I said in part one of this series, it’s the job of the church board to take care of the pastor. Medical insurance and possibly ‘worker’s comp’ insurance would be examples of taking care of the pastor. A tax expert with experience working with 501c3 organizations would be the place to start in discovering the conditions under which a church can provide worker’s comp. Some pastors are considered ‘employees’, others are considered ‘self-employed.’ Either of these designations could have special rules regarding worker’s comp.