the steadfast adherence to the same principles, or set course, day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.
Creating your community awareness of who you are means your team is determined to be in your community in every season. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Galatians 6:9 NIV
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I’m reminded of the movie Galaxy Quest. The Captain always stated, “Never surrender, Never give up.“
“I’ve read many books concerning effective evangelism. Every book I’ve read points to one important aspect… consistency.
David Wilkerson in NY was always there…going out into the community, talking with people, encouraging seekers, and taking risks.
Floyd McClung living in Amsterdam was there day by day, having conversations with people on the Hippy Trail, breaking down barriers, building bridges.
Billy Graham really didn’t ever change… His messages were simple, direct to the point month by month year by year.
Loren Cunningham mobilizes the youth in our generation into their world, encouraging young people to pray, believe, to serve, and to care.
Steve Sjogren learned to serve his community by going and serving. He understands and lives the value of being out there with small acts of kindness consistently.
Mike Pilivochi and Soul Survivor in the UK serve, worship and share the good news, impacting thousands in Manchester, and London with Soul in the City.
Bethel Church in Redding California is known as a church who loves and serves by their community. Wisdom: Power To Change The World …a great must-read book.
How do you know your church has impacted a community?
Answer: People of your community begin to define your church in a positive manner. Hint: we are all already defined by our community, both positively and negatively.
The good news! We have a major role to play in creating how we are perceived by our communities.
Questions to ask?
How do you define your church?
We are the church who (fill in the blank)______________________________________________.
If you want to know how your community defines your church you will have to go into your community and ask:
When you hear the name of this church (say the name of your church) what comes to your mind?”
What have you heard?
When I was living in a city in Florida I worked for a church that no longer existed.
Christians often define themselves by what they say they believe, and what they say they value. In actuality, our communities where we live often define us much better than we define ourselves. They define us by what they see us do, not only by what we say we value and believe.
I once served a church where the community didn’t know we existed. Yup!
Often, I would meet someone during outreach and in the midst of the conversation I’d mention our church’s name and they would say, “I thought you no longer existed.” This was not encouraging to the person who was hired to turn the church outward.
The church was in an existence mode and was enduring a season of hardship. We had no budget to speak of. Many people left, and we had done little outreach into the community.
At the same time, an amazing leader Buford Lipscomb and his family were steering the church out of recovery mode and into their future as an Oasis of Hope and Love.
I later moved north for another assignment. I have been tracking how they have been doing. Liberty Church in Pensacola has an amazing story. They are now in five locations and growing. It’s a great church. The people they’ve gathered are loving, serving, and faith-filled. The leadership is smart, sharp and clearly has a heart for their city. They are now well known throughout their community. They are marked by their sense of family, and for their love, care and service for their community.
When I worked at the Dayton Vineyard I lost my phone. I went to my phone provider with an old phone to activate. I was asked, “What business name is your phone under?” I said, “the Dayton Vineyard“. The lady standing next to me exclaimed: “Oh you’re that pretty good church that serves the community! I’ve heard about what you guys’ do!” I asked, “What have you heard?” She then told me about the positive things she and others have heard and seen us do. Humbly, but joyfully I replied, “Yep that’s us, we’re just pretty good.”
I walked away encouraged. I thought, “It really does work. What you sow you will reap.”
How does this happen? It’s simple. Years of hard work, sowing, caring, praying, going, being out there in season and out of season. We were consistent. Our consistency redefined church too much of our community. People came to see. As a result, many people become Christ-followers as they heard our messages and observed The Vineyard’s lifestyle. I remember the time we baptized ninety people on one Sunday!
We also knew we needed God’s favor to be upon our lives and upon what we were doing. We consistently asked Jesus to place His favor upon us as a church.
God’s Favor is what empowered Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and Jesus to impact their world. In fact, the early church ‘had the favor of all the people’ … Jesus ‘grew in favor with God and man.’
How do you gain favor?
1. You ask for it? It’s a gift that increases with proven character…and sometimes even stays with people who have bad character…the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
Samson was a bad character but was a ‘having God’s favor’ – kind of guy.
In his last season of life, He stood up as before but didn’t realize God’s grace for battle had vanished. Realizing he was left alone he turned toward God and asked for strength for just one more exploit.
Favor brought Daniel, Joseph, Esther, Jesus before Kings, shut mouths of lions, delivered men out of prison, spared a race of people, and received a crucified risen Savior…all because of God’s favor.
2. You serve where you are, with what you have, while you can. A simple word study on the phrase good deeds is pretty revealing, especially in the pastoral epistles.
1 Timothy 6:18 NIV Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (The epistles were written as instructions for local church leaders Timothy and Titus.)
3. Serve with the attitude of Christ. see Philippians Chapter 2. True humility, embracing genuine love, a having great attitude, and a servant’s heart.
Jesus said, don’t hide your light under a bushel basket but let your light shine in such a way so that when they see your good deeds they will glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Peter said, let your good deeds shine in such a way that they will glorify God on the day of His visitation.
So what is visibility evangelism?
It’s consistently showering your community with good deeds done in the name of Jesus.
It’s living consistently within the love and grace that God provides.
It’s being out in the community, day in day out, moment by moment serving, loving and caring.
It’s being wise how you answer every person who talks to you about the hope you have.
There’s no great secret why serving churches are energized, thriving, and growing. It’s simple: someone is praying, someone is serving, someone is loving, someone is caring, and someone is going out into the community sharing God’s love with the people in their sphere of influence in a practical way… consistently.