One strategy for keeping outreach mainstream is to have a specific time and place in the weekly church calendar to emphasize evangelism. It must be REGULAR (i.e. every week) and it must be SPECIFIC. It could be scheduled into part of the small group meeting, a Sunday School class or a church service. But if it doesn’t appear on the calendar every week, you should not expect a lot to happen.
My dad was a church planter in Nigeria. One of the practices of the churches he started was to call out every church member’s name in a Sunday morning service. Each person then stood and gave a number. Their response was the number of people they witnessed to that week. That level of accountability is probably too brutal for the average church here in America. But you get the idea (and they got the idea) that evangelism was important if the church keeps score.
A toned-down version of that would be to have a weekly report card. Missional Church of Virginia Beach (http://missionalchurchvb.org/worship-service/missional-practices/) uses the BLESS acronym as a weekly report card. Every member records the number of times that week the did one of the BLESS strategies in evangelism. They don’t put their name on the card… but hand in a report of their outreach activity. It becomes really easy to measure the amount of evangelistic activity of the congregation. Here is their metric to measure evangelism:
- Begin with prayer (Dependence) How does God want me to bless the people He has sent me to?
Listen (Attentiveness) What challenges, struggles and pain are the people to whom God has sent me experiencing?
Eat (Hospitality) Who will I have a cup of coffee or a meal with among the people that God has sent me to?
Serve (Generosity) How can I demonstrate the love of Christ in a practical way to those God has sent me to?
Story (Boldness) Is the timing right for me to share My Story (testimony – How Jesus changed my life) and His Story (the Gospel) with those that God has sent me to?
Each week, the members put the number of times they did one of the above strategies. This puts some objectivity in measuring how much outreach your church is doing. It also keeps evangelism in front of everyone every week. But if this idea is not for you, come up with some way to build this into the habits and culture of your congregation.