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Congregational Vitality Pathway

RCA Farwest Region

Our Highest Value that Rarely Happens By Kevin Harney

Kevin Harney is leading a Pre-Classis training on evangelism on Friday, October 16, Christ Community Church, Carmichael (north Sacramento), 10 AM to 4:30 PM... For more information contact Karl Overbeek at k_overbeek@icloud.com

*I am a local church pastor, ordained in the RCA. * I love the local church. I preach almost every weekend of the year. I lead meetings, equip God’s people for ministry, pray with hurting people, cast vision for the future, serve the community, and do the same things most pastors have been doing for two thousand years.

In my forth decade of pastoral ministry I have discovered one specific value in the church that most congregations avoid even though they declare it is essential and deeply important. I have friends in ministry all over the United States and around the world and they all seem to be facing the same reality. Every biblically faithful church believes and declares that evangelism (outreach) is a high priority and absolutely central to the health of their church. But, in reality, very few churches actually do outreach consistently and effectively.
A good friend of mine led the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism for fifteen years and he told me that in a decade and a half of his leadership, they never found solid tools or a transferable approach to mobilizing local churches for effective outreach. It broke his heart because he realized the power that would be unleashed if countless churches around the world would actually realize their evangelistic potential and move onto action sharing the gospel.

One of our highest values as followers of Jesus and leaders of local churches is intentional and effective evangelism. This also happens to be the weakest part of most church ministries. In my conversations with national leaders of evangelism in four different denominations they all say the same thing, “Intentional Evangelism is our weakest area as a body of churches.”

If we are going to continue saying that reaching lost people is a priority and that our churches believe in evangelism, we had better start doing something about it. We need to move into action. We need to change how we lead, pray, and function as churches. And, as local church pastors, we need to look at our lives.
Here are some questions every pastor should ask on a regular basis: Who am I praying for, with passion and tears, to come to the cross and receive Jesus as the Savior and leader of their life? How much time do I spend in a regular week with people who are still far from Jesus and who need His grace?

When was the last time I had a non-believing friend or family member sit next to me in church because I had prayed, loved, and reached out to them?

How often do I share the gospel of Jesus with a spiritually seeking friend in the flow of my normal life? When was the last time I presented the good news of Jesus in my ministry and saw a person bend their knee and surrender their life to the Savior?

As a leader in the Reformed Church, you are invited to join our Classis leaders, pastors, Elders, Deacons, and church members for a day of digging into the topic: Principles of Intentional Evangelism. I look forward to gathering with you and a team from your church as we seek the face of Jesus and humbly ask the Holy Spirit of God to prepare us for a new season of ministry where we declare that evangelism is a high priority, and where our lives and churches prove that we really mean it!

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