5 Reasons Churches Should Set Goals for Evangelism by Thom Rainer
“It’s human-centered, not God-centered.”
“It’s another attempt to transfer a secular methodology to the church.”
“It’s not dependent upon God and prayer.”
Those are three of the most common objections I’ve heard to goal setting in the church, particularly for evangelism.
I get it. You can indeed make goal setting a human-centered endeavor. But the reality is that most any effort in the church can become prayerless and not dependent on the Holy Spirit.
But I want to suggest that goal setting for evangelism can truly be used for God’s glory and Great Commission obedience. To be clear, I advocate lead metrics for goal setting more than lag metrics. We commonly set goals for conversions, baptisms, professions of faith, salvation decisions, or similar nomenclature. Those are lag metrics. I suggest, however, your church use lead metrics along with lag metrics.
Lead metrics are acts of obedience that, in God’s power, result in the lag metrics noted above. They include goals for sharing the gospel; writing letters or emails to non-Christians and unchurched persons; meals or coffee with people without Christ or a church home, or flyers about the church left at homes. Those are but a few examples of evangelistic efforts or pre-evangelistic efforts.
I argue that churches that set lead metric goals for evangelism will actually see greater evangelistic fruit. Here are five reasons why:
1. Goal setting makes us intentional about the Great Commission. Our natural inclination is to be inwardly-focused. But if we are regularly focused on reaching outwardly through goals, we are more inclined to do so.
2. Goal setting is a statement about church and individual priorities. Do you think it helps your marriage to have a goal to have one date night a week? For certain. That is a statement of the importance of your marriage relationship. Likewise, goal setting for evangelism is a statement that the church is serious about the Great Commission.
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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.