Laws of the Harvest: Principles for Creating an Evangelistic Culture in Your Church
Evangelism is not a one-time event or an action reserved only for someone with the gift of evangelism. As part of the body of Christ, we are all called to share the Good News of Jesus with the millions of people in New England who don't know Him!
But sharing the Gospel regularly and effectively requires intentional planning. To help, we recommend the Laws of the Harvest principles. Below you can read about each law. If you are interested in learning more or in developing a customized, comprehensive strategy, please contact Bruce James or Tim Buehner at 508-393-6013.
1. The Harvest Begins with God
All true evangelism begins with and is sustained by a vibrant and healthy relationship with God, both personally and corporately. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Has your church lost its passion for Christ?
- Does your church need renewal or revival?
- How do I create a culture of evangelism in my church?
Your answers to these questions may reveal that you should first address your church's own spiritual health. We recommend Church Renewal Journey, a series of five weekends held over an extended period of time and designed to awaken, equip, commission, empower and send your congregation. The process requires a significant investment of time but has been used greatly by God in churches that are committed to working through the steps.
2. The Farm and Workers Must Be Ready
Is your church ready for the harvest? In order to be prepared to receive the harvest, the entire church body should understand both the vision for reaching your community and the process your church has established for sharing the Gospel, welcoming a new believer into the church and helping him or her mature in faith.
If you haven't yet developed a clear path for introducing people to Christ and helping them grow in their relationship with Him, prayerfully consider how you can be intentional in the following areas:
- Welcoming, hospitality and facilities
- Teaching and encouraging members to share their faith
- Assimilating new believers into the church
- Fellowship and love within the church body
- Discipleship groups
- Ministries and opportunities to serve in the church
- Cooperation with other churches
Check out our evangelism resources page for ideas in many of these areas.
3. Soil Must Be Examined and Prepared
Knowing and adapting to the local community is a strategic step in evangelizing effectively. Do we love the lost enough to learn about their values and culture so that we can meet their needs and communicate effectively with them?
The following resources can help as you explore ways to know and share Christ's love in your area.
4. Seed Sowing Must Be Regular, Persistent and Intentional
Seed sowing represents the Word of God being shared in the community. This can take many forms, such as one-on-one evangelism, servant evangelism, ministry evangelism, mass media or other actions that demonstrate the love of God in word or deed. We cannot expect a harvest if we aren't regularly, prayerfully sowing seed.
What changes does your church need to make in order to prioritize sharing the Gospel? Do you need to develop a church-wide evangelism strategy? Should you devote more of your budget to outreach activities? Do you need to devote more time to teaching members to share their faith and encouraging them to engage in personal evangelism consistently? Remember this principle: the more seeds you sow, the greater the harvest will be.
Visit our evangelism resources page for tools, ideas and materials.
5. Harvest Is the Culmination of the Process
When people respond to the Holy Spirit's call to become followers of Jesus Christ, the church must be ready to bring in the harvest.
According to the North American Mission Board, new believers are likely to deal with rejection, moral dilemmas, questions about the validity of their salvation and confusion about theology -- all within the first 24 hours after conversion! Although they are excited about Jesus, they are spiritually immature and need help working through life issues.
It is critical for the church to follow up quickly with new believers, leading them in intentional discipleship and baptism. The BCNE can equip you to set up a discipleship program. Contact Sandy Coelho at 508-393-6013 ext. 234 for more information.
We would also like to offer member pastors one free copy of Living in Christ, a four-lesson Bible study for new believers. Additional copies can be ordered from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Contact Dean Williamson to get your copy.