Small things done with great love will change the world! This is the motto of Servant Evangelism developed and popularized by Steve Sjogren through his book Conspiracy of Kindness, his website and newsletters.
Steve Sjogren is a church planting leader who has planted churches in Europe and throughout the U.S. primarily through the use and development of Servant Evangelism. He launched Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985 with 37 people which grew to over 6000 in average attendance.
"What makes this story unusual is that this happened in Cincinnati, Ohio --- a city that has long been known for its in-your-face unfriendliness! Mark Twain spent a good deal of time in this city on the Ohio River and often commented about how rude people were. When this church was launched, Cincinnati was ranked as the third most unfriendly city in America. After serving about 12 million people over those fifteen years the tone of the city literally changed and that change had made a permanent impact on the city in innumerable ways. Servant Evangelism connects people to people in a natural, easy, low-risk, high grace way." (HT)
Here are five ways they I encourage church planters and pastor to use Servant Evangelism in their new churches:
- Never do it alone. Always have somebody with you as this is a great opportunity to virus someone with an evangelistic spirit and to develop a Servant Evangelism champion in your new church. Never doing it alone will also help you set the evangelistic DNA in your church that will move beyond launch and be embodied in the life of your church. New churches can get established really quickly and experience evangelistic entropy.
- Choose high volume inexpensive activities. Remember, you are sowing evangelistic seeds, the more seeds you sow the more opportunities you will have to find receptive hearts. If you were to do a free car wash how many cars could you wash in 4 hours...maybe 35-50? If you were to give people free coffee and hot chocolate how many cups could you give out in a couple of hours...50-100? Here are some of the high volume SE projects that will enable you to touch 1000 people or more in 3-4 hours. Lollipop/Blow Pops, Hand Cleaning Towelettes, Candy Give Away, Popsicles, Flower Seeds, etc. These project could be done for less than $200-300 and touch more than 1000 people!
- Plan them before a Preview Service or Big Sunday. Sow these evangelistic seeds the Saturday before a high impact outreach service. This will create more buzz in your community for your new church.
- Always use a Connection Card. The connection card is the difference between Community Service and Servant Evangelism. Community Service is simply loving your community in the name of Jesus. Servant Evangelism is earning the right to extend an invitation through a connection card. On one side you tell people they are loved and on the other side you tell them who you are by giving information on your church or an upcoming special worship service.
- Have fun doing it! Creating positive emotional experiences for your people is key for them to re-engage in this type of evangelistic activities. It is also key to being effective in your connections with strangers. There is nothing more attractive than a group of authentic, loving people who are having fun and serving with joy in their hearts. Steve likes to say, "That where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is fun!"
Over 15 years Steve led his church to sow 12 million evangelistic touches into their community...no wonder it grew to over 6000 in attendance! How many evangelistic touches are you sowing into your community each year? If you are not reaping an evangelistic harvest you are probably not sowing enough evangelistic seeds or touches.