By: Chad Holtz
It is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:15)
One of my favorite stories about John Wesley, the father of Methodism, is his introduction to field preaching, a rather progressive approach in his day. His friend, George Whitfield, was having great success with it and had been pressing Wesley to help him in his endeavors. Wesley’s journal entry relates some of his reservations. In March, 1739, he penned, “I had been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.” But to his credit, Wesley allowed his reservations to take a backseat to his responsibility to introduce as many people to Jesus as he could. His willingness to do whatever it took to reach the masses led to one of the greatest revivals the world has ever seen before or since.
Taking the message of the gospel to the streets, or fields, is not a new thing. It is exactly what Jesus did and instructed his followers to do. What is a new thing is how those streets or fields have evolved, and more rapidly so with technological advances. For both Jesus and Wesley, the only way to reach 5,000 people was to be standing on a hill in a field. Today, what’s changed is the field, and that same number and more can be reached by sitting in one’s living room with a smart phone. Today, unlike any other time in the history of the world, we have an opportunity to reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ because our ability to connect and communicate with others is growing exponentially. If Paul were writing Romans in 2016 he might say, how beautiful are the pixels of those who bring good news!
In my experience as both a pastor and a “cradle” Christian growing up in and around churches all my life, church leaders who are not maximizing their evangelistic potential fall in one of two categories. One, their paradigm for doing ministry is brick and mortar based, meaning they are still convinced the way to evangelize is within the traditional church setting or face to face. Second, they know they need to have a robust, online presence and marketing plan but do not have either the time, staff, knowledge or resources to make it happen.
We at ChuchCMO exist to help address both of these challenges! First, in order for congregations to make a paradigm shift in how they reach their community they must first get behind the why. As a pastor, I realized fairly quickly how slowly change can take place (frustratingly so at times!), but it is possible only when both the leadership and the laity buy into a shared vision of why change is necessary. If we can agree that our number one why is because Jesus commanded us to go out into all the world making disciples, then we can work together in developing a theology of evangelism for your church that will help lead people to embrace the changes necessary to engage the ever expanding technological fields where the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
Second, if you are already convinced of the why but need help with the how, we will help tailor a plan that corresponds with your church’s mission and unique setting and then implement and maintain that plan. By taking a look at what has been working and what has not, we can help put together a marketing strategy that is most effective for your particular community.
We have the greatest news in the world to share and the means to share that news with more people than ever before. Could this be, in part, what Jesus meant when he said we would do even greater things than he (John 14:12)? The fields may be changing but the message has not. We at ChurchCMO look forward to coming alongside you to help your church effectively and strategically communicate the good news.