The 5-Hour Challenge That Will Make Your Church Focus Outward

I was hesitant to write this post.

Indeed, I could see church members using this post to advocate that the pastor needs to do more of the work of ministry like evangelism. I’ve heard similar words many times: “After all, that’s what we pay the pastor to do.”

Such words are shameful. Such words are unbiblical.

But I do have to challenge pastors and church leaders. In recent years I have noticed a precipitous decline in the amount of time church leaders spend doing evangelism, or doing activities that have an outward focus.

And here is the reality: If the pastors and church leaders are not serious about reaching people with the gospel, you can’t expect the members to do so either. Most pastors are spending less than 2 hours a week in outwardly-focused ministries, specifically evangelism. They have become so busy doing good things they neglect obedience to the Great Commission.

Here is my simple challenge: Commit at least 5 hours a week to evangelism and outwardly-focused ministries. Mark those 5 hours on your calendar like any other appointment. Make those 5 hours a priority. Do not come up with busyness and excuses that keep you from fulfilling your challenge.

This challenge should apply to all vocational ministers on staff. If you are full-time, commit 5 hours. If you are half-time, commit 3 hours (yeah, I rounded up).

Here are some suggestions for your five hours each week:

• Take a non-Christian or unchurched person to lunch.
• Write five handwritten notes to people who do not have a church home and have visited your church.
• Email or text 20 people who are looking for a church home.
• Take 2 hours to walk and pray for homes in your community.
• Pray for opportunities to share the gospel every day.
• Find a person in need in your community. Help them. Let them know you are doing it as an ambassador for Christ.
• Start a Bible class that meets every week for 8 weeks. Advertise on Facebook that the class will give you a basic overview of the entire Bible. Meet no more than 1 hour a week. You might be surprised how many non-Christians show up.
• Have a 15-minute stand-up meeting with your staff each week. Ask them how they spend their 5 hours.

You are very creative. I know you can share with us many other ways to be outwardly focused. Let us know some of your ideas. Let us know what you are currently doing.

Don’t expect your members to be evangelistic unless you are evangelistic.

Consider taking the 5-hour challenge.

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Thom Rainer
Thom Rainer

Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of Church Answers and executive director of Revitalize Network. He served for 12 years as dean at Southern Seminary and for 13 years as the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Also a respected researcher and former pastor, he has written more than 25 books, including many best sellers, such as I Am a Church Member. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons, several grandchildren and live in Nashville, Tennessee.