The best interests at an evangelistic meeting are friends and family of the members, those people who are personally invited. So, now is the time to build relationships with people so that when you invite them to the meetings, they will be happy to come. Here’s a (not nearly exhaustive!) list of things you can do now to help your next public evangelistic series be successful:
- Do a BibleStudyOffer.com mailing and start studying with one or more of the new interests.
- Plan a missing member cookie distribution. Invite church members to bring 2 dozen cookies and make up plates of cookies with a sharing book to deliver a plate to every missing member that still lives in the area. If the whole church participates you can get this done in just one or two days.
- Visit your neighbor with home baked goodies or invite them to a neighborhood picnic at your place or a local park to build relationships.
- Plan a VBS and visit all the guests’ families. Provide a monthly follow up VBS program to keep in touch and make your evangelistic children’s program a VBS follow up.
- Go door to door with a community religious survey to learn the religious climate of your area, offering Bible studies to those who are interested.
- Plan one Sabbath a month to invite visitors and church members to your home for Sabbath lunch or vespers. If you work with other church members you could have a plan that each Sabbath people are fellowshipping at homes. There is something special about being in someone’s home that can’t be duplicated at
potluck, ooops, I meant fellowship meal. =)
- Participate in your local festival, fair or comparable community event. Whenever possible, do so in a way that makes you a part of festivities and not just a booth trying to squeeze in. For example, if your town has a Strawberry Festival maybe you can serve strawberry smoothies or popsicles while passing literature. Those connections made in person with a friendly smile, firm handshake, and personal interest in the person will go a long way to making sure the literature is read or the Bible study is completed.
- Plan an evangelistic church social. A picnic, BBQ, scavenger hunt, or anything along those lines will provide an opportunity to invite non-Adventist family and friends. Don’t forget to invite all the interests and “friends” of the church. Church members can use this time to mingle and get to know people. If the time is right, share a testimony or ask, “Have you heard of our Bible School?” If not, don’t worry. A seed has been sown and they are a little more comfortable with “those Adventists”—or even with the possibility of being one someday!
- Do a service project like clean up the lawn or painting for a family in need or struggling business. This is a great way to build relationships in your community.
- Ask for Bible Studies. This seems simplistic, I know, but sometimes we need to be confronted with the obvious. When you are at the grocery store, dress shop, walking through your neighborhood, talking with family or friends, or anywhere else you interact with people, be intentional. Look for an opening and ask! If they say no, don’t be offended. Statistics show that you will probably ask 1000 people before you get a good study interest. In a very real sense, it’s a numbers game—so ask often and trust that it will eventually pay off!
- Bring extra food for fellowship meal and personally invite visitors (or members who don’t stay) to stay for fellowship meal. Let them know that you brought enough food to cover them. Sit with them and take a personal interest in them.
- Plan a health outreach. If you don’t already have a supper club or on-going health outreach, that is a great way to build relationships. If you don’t have the manpower to do something monthly (or every other month or even quarterly if that’s all you can do) and choose topics that are of most interest to the public. Consistency is key to building friendships with people so something like this is a great opportunity getting close to people.
- Go through your interest list. Browse through your church’s Bible study contacts and guest book, looking at each name and think of what can be done to help them along in their journey to knowing Jesus as their savior. Invite them to a church event, visit them in their home, invite them to your home, etc.
- Sponsor a carwash to support the local church school or pathfinder club. Be ready with plenty of snacks, GLOW tracts, and conversation to share while the people are waiting to get their car washed.
- Plan a concert, either in your church or at a local outdoor venue. Mingle, talk, visit, have door prizes or whatever you need to be able to get to know the folks attending.
It used to be that people would automatically get to know the people in their towns and neighborhoods. But with the advent of television and particularly social media, people are (ironically enough) a lot less social. Because of this we must be intentional and try harder to meet people for Jesus. This is just a short list of different ways you can get to know people, but you can do whatever works for you. You don’t need try to do all of them, but just pick one or two ideas that you think you can accomplish and do those well the Lord will bless your efforts.