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No Excuses: Spark Your Church to Live on Mission

A simple way to fan the flame for outreach in your congregation
Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:6

Want to ignite those you lead with a fire for the Gospel? First embrace this simple truth:

It starts with you.

For pastors to light a Gospel spark in others, they themselves must be set ablaze. Every worthwhile pastor I’ve ever met has a fire for the Gospel in their own soul. For some, that fire may have died down over the years. It may have cooled from a blazing flame into a sizzling coal.

But it’s still there.

My prayer is that this article will help you find that burning ember, underneath all the chaos and busyness of being a shepherd, and then fan it into an out-of-control inferno through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Right after Paul challenged Timothy to fan his gift and passion into flame, he went on to exhort him to:

not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God.

2 Timothy 1:8

All of this happened while young Timothy was shepherding the church at Ephesus.

Paul was saying: Don’t just get ignited for evangelism—get involved in evangelism. Take the risk of suffering for the Gospel. Lead the way for your people.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an evangelist to do this. Timothy wasn’t. That’s why Paul challenged his young protégé a few chapters later to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5).

So pause right now and ask God, through His Holy Spirit, to stoke that Gospel fire in your soul. Ask him to pour the holy kerosene of His heart for the unsaved over these coals until your soul is ablaze for the lost—until you can say with the prophet:

But if I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,’ His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

Jeremiah 20:9

Take a minute or two right now to ask God for this brand of Paul-Timothy-Jeremiah fire from the Holy Spirit. As you pray, commit to the Lord that you will lead the way—because it starts with you.

It continues with your congregation.

Once this fire has begun in you, it will spread to your church members. And when it does, there are some tremendous blessings and benefits.

Igniting the members of your congregation for evangelism causes them to pray for the lost in a deeper way, triggers a desperate dependence on the Holy Spirit, and builds in them the courage they need to consistently reach out to friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers with the Gospel.

This brand of faith-stretching evangelism also brings a fresh excitement to your church services and deepens the spiritual maturity of those engaged in it. As Philemon 1:6 reminds us:

I pray you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

As I often say:

If we want to get Christians to grow, then we must equip them to go.

If all this is true, then why aren’t more pastors activating their churches for evangelism? After all, there are plenty of evangelism tools and trainings available for those who want it.

It leads to saturating your community.

I believe that pastors need an easy-to-execute kickoff event to get their people out and engaged to spread the Gospel. That’s why I love Saturate USA. It gives pastors a simple strategy to get their people engaged in outreach in their own neighborhoods right away.

Saturate USA is a God-sized vision to take the love of the Gospel to 120 million households by the end of 2027. They plan to literally saturate the nation with the Gospel by mobilizing churches to adopt zip codes and get the Gospel to every house in that zip code.

All that the members of your church (or youth group) have to do is assemble their “saturation packs” and deliver them door to door in a zip code of their choosing. They don’t even have to knock on anyone’s door. They just hang the door hanger (complete with Gospel tracts and a Jesus film DVD) and leave.

But along the way, they can pray for every home. As they do, that fire in their hearts for the lost will begin to burn. Many will even be able to have Gospel conversations along the way as they spread the love of Christ from door-to-door (check out my five-minute crash course on evangelism here).

One of the exciting things about Saturate USA is that they provide the saturation packs free of charge, because of their passion to make sure every person in the United States has every last chance to hear and believe the Gospel.

The Jesus film has been used by God to reach millions upon millions of people around the world. God can use it to reach the people in your own zip code. But we must be willing to get it to them.

I challenge you to go to the Saturate USA website right now, adopt a zip code or two, and mobilize the people at your church to saturate their little corner of the United States with the Good News of Jesus.

In the process, your people will be united and ignited for the cause of Christ. In the process, that burning coal could become an out-of-control inferno that consumes your community with hope.

No excuses!

Unlikely Fighter

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