Tag Archives: Church

How to Make Evangelism More Normal in Your Church

When you read the Book of Acts, you see that sharing Christ was as much a daily part of the lives of believers then as texting on a cell phone is today. But today, in most churches, evangelism is occasional at best.

How do we make evangelism less occasional and more normal in our churches today? Let me share a few thoughts.

First, remember evangelism is caught more than taught.

The truth is that people follow our example more than they listen to our words. Too often, pastors tell their people what they should do without giving examples from their own lives. Our application can become, “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Try this idea: every week for the next six months, mention a time that you, a fellow pastor, or a church member attempted to share Christ the week before. Give a quick testimony, offer a prayer request for someone with whom you shared, or perhaps a time you should have witnessed but failed to do so.

Pastors who have done this testify to a growing practice of evangelism by their people simply through the consistent example of leaders. This helps normalize witnessing as something we do, not something we just talk about.

Sharing personal stories of evangelism is one of the best gifts a pastor can give to a congregation.

Of course, the only way you can do this is by having actual stories to tell. I was convicted of this in my own life. My wife and I mapped out our neighborhood. We identified our neighbors who we believed didn’t know Christ based on previous interaction.

We sought to share the gospel with each of them over time. We had the privilege of sharing the gospel with people in seven of eight of the homes we identified. We led to Christ one couple three doors down and baptized them. We watched them become leaders in the church, eventually leading others to Christ.

We reached three of the eight homes we identified and sought, and all three became active in church. We can make evangelism as normal as singing in a service or giving to the offering when people in our church can testify regularly: “By God’s grace, in our small group, we’re engaging our neighbors. We had the privilege of leading them to Christ and baptizing them.”

The fact is that our example does become normalized whether good or bad. You can’t lead what you won’t live. It’s okay to admit you struggle in this area if you do. Find a pastor or godly layman who is effective at sharing Christ and has the humility to ask for help.

Second, you have to make time for it.

The Great Commission is not the Great Suggestion. It has to be a priority.

We are all busy. But we all have the same 24 hours a day and we all have time to do what is most important. Evangelism has to be a priority.

Here’s what you find when a congregation goes through a study like Natural Church Development or Transformational Church: There are usually two areas that need serious improvement. It might be prayer and evangelism, or it could be fellowship and evangelism; evangelism almost always an issue that must be addressed.

But congregations typically respond by appointing a committee or a group to help grow the fellowship or the prayer life of the church. Evangelism is low, but consistently churches address the other issue more urgently than evangelism. People will say, “Well, our evangelism’s low, but we really have to grow our fellowship.” It’s not a priority.

To help prioritize evangelism, find the evangelists in your church. Not, “find those with the spiritual gift of evangelism.” There’s no spiritual gift of evangelism in the Bible. Look it up.

People can use that as an excuse, “I don’t have that gift.”

However, there are evangelists God gives to equip his people (see Eph. 4:11), but all of his people are called to evangelism. By “evangelists,” I’m referring to people who God has placed in your church who have a passion for evangelism, not those preachers we used to bring in for spring and fall revival meetings we called evangelists.

Every church has the kind of evangelists I’m describing. When we identify them, we typically tell them, “Go and do it.”

Instead, ask them to help you as pastor to equip the whole church to evangelize. Find a time and a place. Find a simple tool to get them started.

Teach people how to do it, ask people to do it, and go with them while they do it. I’m not talking here about Tuesday night visitation, though that’s fine, too. I’m talking more about helping people get in the habit of starting spiritual conversations that can lead to an evangelistic passion and practice in your church.

Third, if you’re a pastor or church leader, preach and teach on it.

Take the time to train everybody in evangelism on a Sunday morning, saying, “I’m going to take 30 minutes today to talk about how you can share your faith.” Many pastors of evangelistic churches do this annually. Communicate with everybody how to do it and help them to do it.

First, model it. Second, plan for it in the life of the church and make that a priority. Third, preach and teach on it. Richard Baxter, the great Puritan pastor, said this to fellow pastors:

“[Your people will] likely feel when you have been much with God: that which is most on your hearts, is like to be most in their ears.”[1]

When they see it in you and in the church’s priorities, hear it in your teaching and preaching, and sense it in your heart, you are on your way to seeing evangelism become a normal part of your church.


Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

This article was originally published at The Exchange and the Exchange team helped with this article. It was first published here.

Ed is also co-author of Rooted Network’s first Deep Dive study, Theology and the Mission of God: A Call to Faith in Action, an 8-week group-discipleship resource designed to help everyday church members understand and apply core doctrines of the Christian life. Learn more and download a free sample here

Sign up for the Rooted Network email list to receive this month’s free resource, How to BLESS People with Your Story, a tool to equip people for conversational evangelism and sharing personal testimonies.

[1] Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, 31.

What “Regular People” Told Eric Geiger about Studying Theology

“If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean you have no ideas about God, rather it will mean you have a lot of wrong ones.” — C.S. Lewis

The following is an excerpt from 4 Most Common Comments from “Regular People” about Studying Theology by Eric Geiger, Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Orange County, CA.

In the summer of 2020, I led an online theology class for people in the church I pastor. I was blown away that over 1,000 people engaged in the class, asked thoughtful questions, and walked through the material each week. We used a theological textbook as our reading, and explored a different “ology” each week: Bibliology (study of the Bible), Christology (study of Christ), Soteriology (study of salvation), Pneumatology (study of the Spirit), and so on. There were four overarching comments I heard from people in our church after teaching them theology for eight weeks.

1. Theology impacts me every day.

2. I have a better and deeper understanding of what I believe.

3. Thinking about God is richer in community.

4. The reading was too much for “a normal person.”

The experience in summer of 2020 led to conversations with my good friend Ed Stetzer on how we can help people in our churches study theology in a more accessible way. Ed and I have been working on a Bible study for groups and churches that we will be releasing with the Rooted Network this fall. I am excited to share more in coming days!

You can read what Eric wrote about each of these four points on his ministry leadership blog.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter (bottom of the homepage) and connect with us on social media to be the first to know more about this exciting new resource.

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. He has authored or co-authored several books including the best-selling church leadership book, Simple Church.

Thom Rainer Says Rooted Might Be the Best Discipleship Pathway He’s Seen

“Let me explain why I’m having trouble curbing my enthusiasm… It is not an overstatement to say Rooted is a movement today,” Thom Rainer wrote on churchanswers.com. The following is an excerpt from his original blog post.

Rooted Is a Discipleship Pathway for Churches

One of the most frequent questions we get at Church Answers is: What is a good discipleship resource for my church? After I ordered the Rooted material, I soon saw that I had my answer. In fact, this resource provides a discipleship pathway that moves the participant from the study of biblical truths to becoming a transformational believer impacting the church and the community.

In essence, this resource is a study resource, a discipleship resource, a volunteer resource, a generosity resource, a ministry resource, and an evangelism resource…

What the Research Says about Rooted

Since Rooted began several years ago, we have several data points that demonstrate its efficacy and the ways God is using it.

  • 70% of participants serve more frequently as volunteers.
  • 82% of participants increase their giving to their local church.
  • 90% of participants continue in an ongoing small group.
  • 10% of participants are baptized.

Most churches using Rooted develop a rhythm where it is offered more than one time a year. In essence, it becomes the on-ramp in the church and the pathway for discipleship as people come into the church. Church leaders seek to get as many existing members into the 10-week experience as well.

An Excellent Review

…I love the fact that the discipleship pathway is so clear. I love how this experience can touch the mind, the heart, and the actions of church members. And I love that Rooted can eliminate complexity in churches that have a myriad of programs and ministries.”

Read Thom’s original post in its entirety: Rainer’s Resource Review #1: Rooted Might Be the Best Discipleship Pathway I’ve Seen

See the related post shared in January: Rooted Mentioned as 1 of 7 Church Practices to Watch in 2022.

Thom S. Rainer is Founder & CEO of Church Answers.

5 Benefits of a Centralized Prayer Experience

Few things sound as overwhelming to Rooted participants as the Prayer Experience. Two to three hours of praying during Week 3 of Rooted? Let’s be honest, most people don’t spend 30 minutes a day praying, much less a few hours seeking to hear from God. For many, the thought of the Prayer Experience conjures up fear, anxiety, and sounds just about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, it’s a beautiful experience and one that participants will walk away from feeling encouraged and reminded that they can do this every day.

After the pilot rounds (please don’t skip these), our campuses made the shift to start hosting and centralizing the Prayer Experience. This may not work for everyone in every context, but below are five of the reasons we made this shift.

  1. Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That—Participants don’t skip the experience. 

    Participating in Rooted is a big ask. Tack on a two-hour experience and we found pilot groups felt like they didn’t have margin. So, we flipped the ask: join us for two and a half hours for the Prayer Experience and then, find additional time (such as breaking the fast and eating dinner afterwards) to debrief that week’s daily devotions. Basically, if you are going to skip something, skip discussion, not prayer. 

  2. Mix It up with Old School Vibes—You can stretch your current prayer culture. 

    Every church has a liturgy, but ours is not a historically liturgical church. So, we wanted to stretch our Rooted participants through Lectio Divina (pages 108-109 of the Facilitator Guide). We also designed a prayer labyrinth and other experiential elements for the experience. One of our joys has been seeing people grow in comfort with these ancient practices and desire to use them. 

  3. It’s a Big Big House (Without the Football)—Larger spaces were less intimidating for people. 

    You probably know this, but it rains a lot here in the Pacific Northwest. Add the short days in fall and the cold of winter, and the ability to host a Prayer Experience outside is hit and miss. The logistics of sitting in a living room for two hours or asking a leader to open up every room in their home for people was a barrier. A centralized large space allows for people to move around independent of the weather. As an added bonus, it is absolutely beautiful to see every corner of our space used for prayer during the experience.

  4. Leaders Are People Too—Leaders get to participate more in the prayer time. 

    By centralizing, hosting, and using the Lectio Divina guide, leaders do not have to watch the time or carry the responsibility of creating the perfect prayer environment. Instead, they are able to guide their group and immerse themselves in the experience. Freeing their minds from the logistics of the experience frees their hearts to engage with God.

  5. Bowling with Bumpers—You can develop younger staff in a safe environment. 

    Leadership development is a priority of our church, and yet finding great opportunities to let young staff lead is sometimes difficult. The Prayer Experience is one of the best environments to empower the people you are developing to lead. With a set structure in place, it gives them opportunities to learn how to set the tone for the experience, guide the participants through it and debrief with their group at the end.

There you have it, five reasons why we centralize our Prayer Experience. Doing this may not be for every church context, but it has worked well for us. And one of my favorite things about it is that the Prayer Experience is not just a Rooted event. We invite our staff and existing Home Communities to join us each round. It has become another tool for us to use as we pursue building prayer into the foundation of our culture and make it a rhythm for our whole church.

J. Grant Hickman is a Teaching Pastor and Rooted Champion at a multi-campus church in the greater Portland, Oregon area. He enjoys woodworking, surfing, and Texas, but mainly spending time with his wife Jenna and their five kids. Outside of exploring the PNW with his family he is working on a Doctorate in Ministry from Denver Seminary and loves equipping others to love like Jesus.

drawstring bag with a tag reading 2022

Sneak Peek at 2022: Resource, Equip, Inspire

drawstring bag with a tag reading 2022

Rooted Network is excited to announce new ways that we are partnering with disciple makers in 2022 and beyond! We’ve been busy behind the scenes preparing to resource, equip, and inspire you in your discipleship ministry. Those three words are the first hint at what’s ahead—resource, equip, and inspire.

Maybe you made it through Christmas and have grown past the age of sneaking a peek at your gifts, but we just can’t wait to give you some hints about what’s in store for this new year. Keep your eyes and ears open for…

  • this new blog
  • a new podcast
  • brand new products
  • refreshed social media
  • new partnerships
  • new events
  • and more

…all for the purpose of healthy, thriving churches who make disciples that truly follow Jesus.


For nearly 10 years, Rooted has been an increasingly trusted resource for connecting people with God, the Church, and their purpose. In recent years, new resources like Rooted Essentials: High School Edition and Life in Rhythm have been introduced. This year, among other things, we begin rolling out brand new small group material and updated translations of existing material. New workbooks, videos, tools, and experiences will resource local churches to make disciples.


Training and sharing best practices have always been foundational to the Rooted experience. In-person and online events are ramping up in 2022. Hub churches around the United States are being identified for fresh opportunities for connection and learning. Current and curious church leaders can schedule time with a coach to discuss Rooted and discipleship strategies in your own context. We’ve launched this new blog and (cue the drumroll sound effects) we’ve begun recording a new podcast with practical conversations on leading and making disciples.


Gospel movements are storytelling movements. They’re story-making movements. When lives are transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ those stories are worth sharing with the world! Rooted Network wants to be sure that you are not only well-equipped with best practices and well-resourced with biblical truth, but that we all benefit from one another’s stories. The global Church is a beautiful family of faith with much to learn from one other. We’ll continue sharing stories in our resources, this site, and our relaunched social media accounts. We love to hear and share your stories, so let us know what God is doing!

Let’s make more disciples!

The goal for every church in the Rooted Network is to be a healthy, thriving church by making disciples that truly follow Jesus. You have a God-given mission. We’re here to resource, equip, and inspire you to fulfill that mission.

Connect with us on social, sign up for the newsletter, and keep an eye on this blog to stay up to date on all the new things coming in 2022.

Jeremy Maxfield is Director of Content for Rooted Network. He lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Picture of tree roots along a river bank.

Rooted Network Announcement: A New Season for Discipleship and Church Resources

Picture of tree roots along a river bank.On a Montana fly-fishing trip with friends in 2020, I took this picture on the Yellowstone River. Thousands of cottonwood tree roots, starved for water, were stretching through dirt, clay, and rock to reach the water’s edge. Though I was fascinated by this image, I hurriedly sent the picture to a friend, along with a leadership illustration, hoping he’d publish it on his blog. I then returned to casting in pursuit of big Montana brown trout.

On that same trip, I was wrestling with my departure from an organization I loved, a team I cared deeply for, and resources that I believed in. After spending almost 20 years serving churches in their discipleship strategies, I feared my time in ministry had come to an abrupt end.

However, over the next few months, I would discover that God’s plan often includes necessary endings.

In 2021, not only was I asked to serve at Mariners Church in CA, I was invited to lead Rooted Network, an organization that resources churches and their discipleship needs. I now have the incredible privilege of building a publishing company focused on serving churches in their mission of making disciples. I’m excited to announce:

We’re building a team. If you’re a content creator, media producer, if you have online expertise, if you love the church, and if you feel stuck in your current context, please reach out to us.

We’re building church resources in the discipleship space. Designed for small group environments, we’re developing discipleship offerings across multiple age categories. We’re also translating key offerings into multiple languages, making the Rooted experience available for non-English speaking groups.

We’re building an author community. Rooted Network has signed several trusted voices that love the church and want to help them win. We have plans to build an assortment of Bible study offerings over the next 2-3 years.

We’re building a network of partnerships. We’ve entered into unprecedented partnerships that will impact thousands of churches around the world. God is stitching together strategic relationships, for the sake of the Gospel, that none of us could have orchestrated.

And we’re only getting started.

As we prepare for the new year, I can’t help but look back with such a grateful heart. In 2020, when I took this picture on the banks of the Yellowstone River, God was reminding me of Jeremiah 29:11 and preparing me to lead Rooted Network.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I hope you’ll join us.