Sunday, March 29, 2009

Outreach: What Works Best

Here are some interesting results about witnessing, sharing one's faith, and the best way and time to do it. I know in the UCC, we don't talk much about personal conversations about God and evangelizing. For some, such a conversation brings back scary images of door-to-door encounters that made you feel trapped and judged.

But such door-to-door antics do not define evangelism. A simple conversation about why church is important to you or why God is important to you is enough. You don't have to stand on the street corner, with Bible in hand, to share God's message. A gentle letter to a friend letting them know you're praying for them or an invitation to a church event or worship service is evangelism in and of itself.

And a recent study conducted by LifeWay confirms that most folks don't like going door-to-door or being the evangelized in such a matter. In fact, most enjoy and are receptive to evangelism in the following ways:
In the same study, people were asked when they would be most receptive to someone 'sharing their faith' and the response is interesting. Most folks are receptive:

As you can see, the holidays can be a wonderful time to invite a friend to church--and such an invitation can have lasting benefits.

In short, these studies tell us what many of us already know. Rather than through various methods of advertising, the best results come through personal contact. You are more likely to influence the people you know for the gospel than a tract, billboard, commercial, TV or radio preacher. Those other things may help, but relationship is central.

h/t Ed Interestingly enough, this Southern Baptist expert in church growth is leading a workshop for UCC church leaders in Nashville. It'll be interesting to see how Stetzer's methodologies translate in UCC settings.

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