Organizing or leading an outreach-focused group in a church setting is not for the weak. However, if you have been called and gifted by God for this task, you are in for the ride of your life! Anytime you attempt to bring others into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will experience the lows—and highs—of spiritual warfare.
For the past several years, my husband, Allen, and I have been involved in an evangelism outreach. We quickly discovered that the strength and outcome of the course depended largely on the success of the small groups. The makings of great groups were always a challenge. I would like to share with you a few things that worked for us:
Make prayer a priority.
Oswald J. Smith, the great Christian statesman known for his fervor for evangelism and prayer, wrote: "Intercessory prayer is the Christian's most effective weapon. Nothing can withstand its power. It will do things when all else has failed…God has placed this mighty weapon in our hands, and He expects us to use it. How disappointed He must be when we lay it aside and substitute natural means for supernatural work."1
The success of the outreach-focused small group depends mainly – and I do mean mainly – on whether or not the leadership has made prayer a priority. Effective evangelism is the work of the Holy Spirit. Even the methods and means by which we carry out our programs should have His signature on them. "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5b –NIV), Jesus told his disciples.
Getting the unbeliever through your church door will be your next major task. Put yourself in his or her shoes. What would get you into a Hindu temple or a Muslim mosque? I am betting it would have to be something ...