How effective is your church in spreading the gospel in your community?
Are you simply waiting for people to find their way to your church, or are you moving out into your community with a practical and winsome strategy for sharing the gospel and winning souls to Christ?
David Mason, Pastor of Green Valley Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, is definitely not waiting for people to find his church. Instead, he has shown exceptional creativity in using both the faith-based and values-based (secular) versions of relational wisdom to strengthen his own church while spreading the gospel to schools, businesses and military bases in his community.
To give you a glimpse of his amazing impact, I’ve compiled excerpts from some of the emails David has sent to me to describe how God has blessed his evangelistic efforts. Of all the things he writes, this statement thrills me most:
“Since I began teaching RW in our community, many individuals and families have come to our church and begun to follow Christ.”
After you read David’s other brief testimonies, I’ll explain how your church could see this same kind of practical gospel outreach in your community.
I just finished six weeks of RW training for 400 people in my church. Our small group leaders report great interaction. One of my senior members said, “That is the best thing we have ever done!” My kids (ages 29, 26, 25, 22, and 21) have enjoyed working on it as a family. RW is proving to be more impactful than I ever dreamed!
My first values-based (secular) workshop in a local business went very well. This is a great way to serve small business owners who can’t afford expensive training. Two other business owners in my church have asked me to do sessions for their employees.
Last night I had a church trustees meeting and a conflict arose. One of the trustees told another trustee, “You need to RW this, brother!” He left for a few minutes to “RW it” and returned with a calm heart. Thank you for developing this material! As a pastor, it has given me great insight into effective discipleship.
I was teaching RW to 200 couples on an Air Force base when there was a loud explosion. With all the recent violence on military bases, you can imagine the instant fear and tension. We soon learned it was only an electrical transformer exploding. After a quick prayer, I explained how the intense “fight/flight” reaction we’d all experienced could save lives during combat … but do great damage in a marital conflict or a quarrel with a teenager. I had their complete attention from that point on!
The Lord recently gave me the opportunity to teach RW to fifty teachers in a nearby school district. I got a standing ovation, not a dry eye in the place. I did the values-based version but mentioned that God-based material was available at the end of the session … every item was gone in minutes.
I use relational wisdom in pastoral counseling every week. I revisit it with my congregation every other month … it’s so easy to work it into sermons. I’m still amazed by how effective this tool is in all sorts of ministry settings.
I just did a seminar, openly Christ-centered, with community service directors in NW Missouri. It was wonderful. I am doing a seminar with college students this weekend. As word about the practical value of RW spreads, I’m getting more and more opportunities to talk with unchurched people and tell them about Jesus.
We are making great strides in penetrating our community with the gospel through RW. I did two more businesses recently. We’ve just invited nearly 600 people in a basketball ministry to receive this training. I cannot express how much this ministry has blessed me, my family, my church and my community!
God recently allowed me to minister to a family that just went through a terrible disaster. They lost their home to a tornado and the mother was having health problems. I could tell her problems were stress related, but she only knew to go to a doctor and get meds. I used RW to help her understand stress and how to listen to her body. She accepted Christ while we were rebuilding her house!
Since I began teaching RW in our community, many individuals and families have come to our church and begun to follow Christ. I just received another request from a bank in Kansas City to present RW to their leadership. I’ve now got my foot in the door with the two largest employers in St Jo. I love telling people how RW has improved my walk with the Father in amazing ways!
Yesterday I taught RW to 63 employees at a national insurance company. It went really well. I got a two applauses and lots of positive feedback. They even recorded it for employees unable to attend.
While most churches in my area are declining, divided or dying, my church is growing and united. I’ve seen the religious landscape change so much lately, and not for the better. God has used relational wisdom to keep our church unified and relevant when so many others have abandoned the gospel for public approval.
Last week I presented values-based RW to a 42 person professional team with such serious problems that several people were about to lose their jobs. Yesterday the leader called to report that the training had triggered a major breakthrough. She then asked me to do a follow up next month.
Next month I’m doing a three week series on RW in my church using the Inside Out movie you featured in a recent blog post. I’m grateful to have such culturally relevant tools to provide training that encourages our members to invite their friends, family and co-workers into our church where many of them hear the gospel for the very first time.
Every person on the face of the earth has been programmed by God to long for meaningful relationships (Gen. 2:18). This is part of what it means to be made in the image of our highly relational God (Gen. 1:27).
Although sin has twisted this aspect of our nature in many ways, the desire for relationship is still one of the most powerful forces in the world. Every meaningful human activity depends heavily on the strength of relationships, whether in our friendships, marriages, parenting, businesses, churches, schools, sports teams, police departments or military units. Success and human flourishing in every area of life is all about relationship!
The human need for meaningful relationships provides Christians with daily opportunities to begin conversations about the wisdom principles in God’s Word, which focus primarily on relationships. Many of these conversations can eventually lead to discussions about the gospel of Christ, which gives us the power to experience relationships as they were meant to be: loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
There are many ways that individual Christians can use RW360 resources to facilitate these types of conversations. Our Training Options and Opportunities page describes how you can use RW360’s webinars, live seminars, online training, RW360 Smartphone App and DVD-based small group materials to engage unchurched friends and coworkers in conversations or studies that lead to the gospel. All of these resources are available in both “faith-based” (Christian) and “values-based” (secular) versions, which makes it easy to take them into virtually any setting.
As demonstrated by David Mason’s experience, one of the most effective ways to use RW resources for evangelism is through regular community outreach. This typically involves training members of your church as RW Instructors who go into businesses, schools, nonprofits, police or fire departments, military bases, sports camps and other secular venues to teach workshops on relational wisdom.
As new people come into your church through these evangelistic efforts, they will bring their relational baggage with them. Therefore, it is wise to equip other people in your church to serve as RW Shepherds, RW Coaches and RW Conciliators. The best way to carry out this training and support the work of these ministry volunteers is to establish a Peace Sower Team that has a well-defined mission statement and works under the guidance of your church leaders.
To learn more about the training resources that you can use to develop such a team, please visit RW 360’s Training Programs page.
If you have any questions about how your church could make use of these resources, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 406-294-6806.
May God allow us to work together in using these resources to spread the gospel in your community!
– Ken Sande
- Is your church having a noticeable impact on your community? To put it more directly, if your church simply disappeared tomorrow, would anyone else in your community even realize you were gone?
- What is your church’s current strategy for reaching out to engage unchurched people in your community and draw them to Christ? How well is that strategy working?
- How might your church’s witness and impact be improved if you trained your people to use the principles of relational wisdom the same way that David Mason has been doing?
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes, whether with a few friends or as a staff, ministry or church devotional.
© 2022 Ken Sande
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