How can the local church effectively be involved in evangelism? How can the pastor motivate his congregation to witness to the lost? What are the best ways for a local church to evangelize? In this episode, Pastor Chas Stevenson from Houston Faith Church answers these questions…and more.
Houston Faith Church Website: https://www.houstonfaithchurch.com/the_pastors
Stevenson Ministries Website: https://www.stevensonministries.org/
Pastor Chas Stevenson (00:03):
My name is Chas Stevenson. I’m with Houston Faith Church. I’m the pastor there. My wife and I been pastoring for 14 years before I was an evangelist. I was a Christian and being a Christian meant that I was filled with the holy spirit and able to witness. And so I started trying to catch up to all the other Christians fishing for men. I found out that Jesus said, follow me that I’ll make you a Fisher of men. So just as a baby Christian, I thought I could, I gotta start doing this. And it was a little scary at first, but I, I felt the obligation to Jesus, to practice fishing and to fish for men and to catch men. And then I realized so few Christians are actually doing that. And when I felt the call to ministry, I went ahead and prayed through and found a certain aspect that I could help churches.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (00:52):
And so I would approach churches that I can help. All of your churches members become the Christian. They were meant to be and help them begin to share their faith with others and have better success than ever before. So that was how I felt Christianity or being a Christian crossed into getting everybody involved in evangelism. I think the secret to the, to the world harvest the secret to changing your nation, your state, your city, your community is found the secret to the whole thing is found sitting right in the church seat. His name is the believer. The believers is the key to everything. All right, when we take surveys in churches, we ask how many of you came to Christ through television and maybe one out of a hundred hands will go up. How many of you came to Christ through radio? Usually zero, these days out of a hundred came through radio.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (01:44):
How many of you came to Christ? Because a believer shared their faith with you. 90% of the hands go up. And then some people raised their hand. How many of you got saved in a church? And so the other 10% are done in church. The believer is the key. 90% of people that are saved, get saved through the witness of a believer. Even if it’s a parent or a friend or a relative, the believers is the one that’s been spreading this gospel all along. Anyway, even though I know that television does, does get some saved, they do a good job teaching, but that’s not the secret to the harvest. It’s not the key to really evangelism. So in our church, we, once we find the solution to evangelism is in the chairs, usually in Christians who have lost their purpose, Christians so often sit there for years frustrated, not, not knowing what to do.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (02:34):
What am I called to do? I’m waiting for my call. I’m waiting for my door to open. Where’s my title. What position can I have? What’s my grace. What’s my gift. And then that goes on for months and years. And they just sit there kind of stagnated when the truth is, if they have the holy spirit, they’re ready. If they know one scripture they’re ready, or we could say this, if they’re saved, they’re ready. The lady that Jesus got saved at the well, she ran on day one, didn’t know anything about anything. Except I found the Messiah. She ran got the whole half of the city saved and the other half came to Jesus and got saved one day. She evangelized the whole city because she found the Messiah. And so really the secrets there, it’s, it’s about keeping that as, as the, the vision, the focus, the emphasis that every one of us here are obligated, responsible, and able every Christian in the church, able to reach others tomorrow for the Lord, Jesus Christ, you know, in, in a natural way, sheep bear sheep shepherds, don’t bear sheep, but sheep bear sheep.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (03:38):
And so we can’t rely on the pulpit, even though there was a time when that was most important, we can’t rely on the pulpit to win all the souls. Okay. It’s great. If you bring a center to church, hopefully they’ll hear the message you get saved, but I found just as many or more get saved after the service with the believer in the car, driving away from church, that Believer’s important. He’s the one that needs to lead people to Jesus, even if they didn’t respond to some altar call. And so we can’t rely on the leaders to get everybody saved. Every Christian should be a healthy enough sheep to lead someone else to Jesus. So if you think about it, a female sheep, who’s not barren in the natural. There’s something wrong. Who’s not barring sheep. A female sheep should bear some sheep. And if not, they’re gonna get eaten, right?
Pastor Chas Stevenson (04:26):
You gotta, you gotta produce here. So Christians who aren’t barring sheep, there’s usually something wrong there not to put people down, but there’s something spiritually wrong, not, not healthy that the pastor or the shepherd has to recognize. I gotta get my sheep healthy so that they will naturally bear sheep out there. Some of it’s so simple but we’ve exempted so many for so long. We’ve exempted so many Christians because they didn’t feel the quite the boldness, right? I’m not the extrovert. And so I can’t do that kind of thing. Oh, we, we turn every introvert into a disciple. I mean, into a, into a Fisher of men. And it’s beautiful to see even the non extroverts be able to share their faith. One on one with some friend over the coffee table and it’s Glos or strangers. I mean, we’ve got introverts approaching strangers, handing a track, leading them to Jesus.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (05:17):
So everything we do is kind of designed to empower the believer and remind the believer. And there’s a little bit to that, but the secret is the believer. Absolutely. We don’t have an evangelism class where we’re expecting everybody to come to and train for 12 weeks and then send you out to the streets to knock on doors. That’s what we don’t do, cuz that’s way too intimidating and too scary. And it only touches about 2% of the people, only those who are already interested in the evangelism really come to that. The rest think they’re exempted. Okay. So the key is this. The key is to present the true commission of Jesus Christ as if it applies to everyone, everyone after the holy spirit and power has come upon, you’ll receive power and you shall be witnesses that’s for everybody. So we have to dispel a lot of the myth that peop people have been under for quite a while.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (06:09):
Christians have just been mistrained in just little inconsistencies with scripture, thinking that an evangelist is, is who wins souls. And I’ve discovered that an evangelist and a soul winner are two different things. They could be the same. They’re not necessarily the same, a soul winner or a Christian witness is one who leads others to Jesus. An evangelist is an office that someone stands in that has a different grace, a special grace for mass crusades and or reminding the church of their great commission. But that’s an office to ed to five, the saints, remember in Ephesians four he gave all five offices for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry. And so the evangelist is designed to Edify the church. Whereas the believer is designed to win a sin, even though certainly the evangelist would have an extra grace and power and anointing to do mass things and crowd things.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (07:06):
And with, with gifts of the spirit on purpose to lead many, many to Jesus, but that’s different than a witness. And that’s where we’ve lost a lot of people, they think, well, I’m not an evangelist. I can’t do that. Wait don’t you aren’t you able to talk at lunch with a friend about different things? Yeah. I can do that. Well then you can share Christ at lunch with a friend. And so that’s where the same thing with like prayer ministry. We’ve said that, well, they, they have a special anointing to pray and they have a special anointing to win souls. So we’ll send them on their own. I don’t really feel called to the prayer group or the street group and that’s okay, but we can’t exempt everybody else. Let them think. Well, I’m not, everybody’s supposed to pray. There’s no gift of praying and there’s no gift of soul winning.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (07:52):
You realize that there’s no gift of soul winning ever mentioned in the scripture. The gift is the holy spirit. And he’s been given to everybody to present Christ with authority and with a lively, you know, resurrection power. And so the whole thing is, is dispelling some of these rumors another rumor I was thinking of is some people have been taught that you’re only supposed to be led when sharing your faith. Like I’m gonna wait till the holy spirit leads me before I ever say anything. You’ll be waiting a long time. You’ll be waiting a lot. And if you really want to be led, if you really want to be led, just read mark chapter 16, where it says go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And you can just stop right there. He said that to you and I didn’t, he, every believer needs to realize he said that to.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (08:41):
So for the rest of my life, all, all I need to do is tell every single person the gospel and I will have obeyed the spirit. I will have been led by the spirit because he led the, the writing of the scriptures, right? So we have to start somewhere. So instead of having a red light on all the time, waiting for it to turn green, where God says, now you can preach the gospel to somebody, have it on green and be willing and ready to tell everybody until it turns red, that’s a whole different perspective. Isn’t it? And then there’s the fears and the uncertainty and the intimidation of in a conversation. So we, we help everybody get through that, but there’s some secrets in the church that over time everybody can come along there. You know, we do at our church have a monthly evangelism event that we get U different people to lead.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (09:30):
Whatever is on your heart. Well, I want to go to the park and do an outreach. Okay. Everybody can go to the park with you. We’ll have anywhere from 10 to 40 people go on these events. And we encourage some of the young Christians about it that, Hey, if you’ve never done this and you’re a little scared go to one of these and hide behind somebody don’t, you don’t have to say a word, do anything you can just watch. And before the day’s over, they’re like, wow, this is so easy. It’s so easy to lead others to Jesus. How do you do it? You ignore the ones that don’t want Jesus and you, and you’d spend time with ones that do, this is not about you arguing Jesus. And this is where so many people, they back off office. Like, I don’t know how to argue.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (10:10):
Jesus. You’re not supposed to do that. You’re just looking out there for the ripe ones. Right? Think about how many times the word of God’s liken to the seed and the farmer to the believer of the preacher, right? What does a, what does a farmer do when he plants? Let’s say tomatoes, farmer, plants, tomatoes in the ground and waters and waters and waters and takes care of. And he doesn’t do, he doesn’t try to pull a fruit day. One. He just waters and waters and waters. And he doesn’t try to start pulling green tomatoes. If the tomatoes not rip, don’t pull it. I mean, I know some people want the fried green tomatoes, but if the tomato’s not right, don’t pull it. It’s too hard to pull. It comes. You know, you pull in the vine, you’re ripping things, your, your, your hands get all smelly with vine juice.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (11:00):
On the other hand, when the tomato turns red or starts to turn red, it’s easy to pull it. You just kind of tap it and it’ll fall off in your hand. Same thing with soul winning. You don’t force the green ones that aren’t ready yet. All you’re doing is looking for ripe ones. How do you know if it’s a ripe one? You ask them, would you like to receive Jesus today? If they say, no, you say, okay, bye-bye or you tell ’em some nice things or whatever, but you don’t spend time on those that aren’t ready. Makes it easy. Doesn’t it? So there might be 10 people that aren’t ready. You’re looking for the one that is ready. The scripture says that to that the Lord ordained such that that should be saved, right? I think every day there’s a group that’s ordained and ready to be saved.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (11:42):
We’re looking for those. So when we do our outreaches, we’ll preach to a thousand people and 50 will be saved. We did it. We didn’t fail 950 times. We succeeded a thousand times preaching and telling is success. Planting a seed is success. So we, we have to remember, don’t expect everybody get saved and look at your successes as those that you reached. Okay. One final thing for pastors. There’s this feeling about evangelism that if we’re gonna do an outreach, we’re doing it so that we can get people into our church. I found that as a, almost a hundred percent failure rate, maybe that’s exaggeration, but it’s a high failure rate. Okay. Especially when you’re leading people to Jesus, if you’re doing an event and, and making a big deal and showing people your church, maybe you get some church members, but those who receive Jesus on the streets, don’t normally go straight to the church where the person was that saved them, or that led ’em to Jesus.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (12:46):
Okay? So you can’t expect that otherwise everybody will be discouraged. Wow. We’ve led all these people to the Lord. And nobody came to our church. We have, what are we doing? You need to look at it that way. You’re planting seed, where you don’t reap. Somebody else will reap where you sewed. But if you’ll to get involved in that, then God will let you reap where you didn’t sew. And so don’t look at it as I have to get them in my church. Typically, when a person gets saved or a center gets saved on the streets or out in public their first thought is I’m gonna go to church with so, and so my friend who’s been asking me to go for years, my aunt, they run to somebody familiar. Who’s going to a Christian Church. Okay. You can encourage ’em to do that. They’re not gonna go with a stranger.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (13:31):
So outreach to strangers, don’t expect them to, to come into your church and, and just flock in because you were out there getting ’em saved. That’s one of the myths that kind of, you know, put the, put the breaks on evangelism. It looks discouraging. Don’t feel like that. Look at it. As we succeeded, we reached everybody in our city and that’s our goal. Reach everybody in our city. As a senior pastor, I think there’s one key ingredient to causing evangelism, to explode and continue in any local church anywhere. And it does depend on the pastor. It does depend on the leader because he kind of runs the show, runs the meeting and keeps whatever vision he’s got going. He’s the one. So here’s, here’s the secret really? And it happens in our church. We, we get this working in our church and it’s amazing the results we see, I call it the four year principle.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (14:25):
And, and what I do is I, I look back at the book of acts after Jesus departed, after he sent the holy spirit, after they were filled and started the ministry what was the local church? What did it look like on day one? What did it look like on week two? When people would come to church? What did the four year sound like? Okay. what was the conversation at church? It certainly about the news of the day or the, the sports teams or anything like that, which that’s all, that’s fine. But because of the excitement around this gospel and the resurrection of Jesus, I think the conversation in the foyer was something like, Hey, what did y’all do this week for God? Hey, did you hear about Peter and John at the gate? They got that guy healed. Yeah. I heard about that.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (15:11):
That was awesome. Hey, listen, what I did, I, there was these teenagers walking by on the street. I led him to, I told him about Jesus being resurrected. They didn’t know that he got resurrected. And then I baptized him in the, in the pond right there, man, what did you do? What did you do? And we’re doing what he said. So there was this whole, we obeying Jesus conversation. I just have a feeling. That’s what happened at least for a while. At least until Jude said, come on, you guys earnest Lee contend for that faith. It was once delivered to the saints. Remember that? And so that aspect just kind of reveals. We need some convers, some right conversation in church. All right. So what we do at our church or what’s so I think it could be anywhere is we have a time, every service to mention the works we do for God.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (16:00):
Whereas a lot of churches will have testimony time. What did, what, what did God do for anybody? Did anybody wanna testify? We specifically say, what did you do for God this week? Anybody wanna say, and people will begin to say what they did at work. I passed out a track. I talked to my friend, I made a phone call. I led the so. And so to the Lord, how many of you led someone to Jesus? What’s our soul count? Did we convert anybody this week? Did we turn anybody to Christ this week? And I’ll look through the congregation in one hand and another hand. How many, how, where at, where did you, where did you get ’em saved at? And so we’ll have four or five, almost every service saying I did this. I led someone, my coworker, my dad, you know, I prayed for the sick.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (16:44):
And so now all of a sudden, the whole congregation’s thinking what who’s doing, what I thought it was, you know, that’s where you just dispel the rumor that the pastor does all the works, right? And so if, if church members look around saying, if she can do this, I can do this. And so this spreads, and, and it’s just a little 32nd, 62nd moment in the church, but it reveals the emphasis we’re placing on true evangelism, every church service. It seems most pastors spend a few minutes talking about tithes and offerings. Isn’t that right? Sure. Give a scripture testimony, talk a little bit, encourage people to give. At least you’d have a time for offering. The question is why do we do that? Well, because we know money is required. It’s important for the local church to continue to isn’t it. Well the people know that’s important, how they know that’s important, cuz we talk about it every week.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (17:50):
If we would just kind of take a step back and think of what’s most important to heaven, even though money’s important, it’s the great commission it’s reaching the whole wide world. And so the most important thing is spreading this gospel and then raising up saints, discipling people. We ought to talk about it all the time. So along with the ties in offering, and that’s really one of the best times to do it, one of the best times to talk about soul winning is while the offering’s being collected every once in a while, stop the offertory song. And while the buckets are getting passed, talk about soul winning, let people share their stories to each other. That’s how fire spreads. You have to let people say and talk and then fire can spread. And so it’s, it’s really the five minute charge or the 62nd charge.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (18:40):
All it is is just a consistent reminder. Every week. Sometimes we do it twice a week. Our midweek service, same thing. We’ll have a time shared stories every once in a while on a Wednesday night, somebody will have a question. You know, I was talking to so and so, and they had, they presented this to me. What am I supposed to say to that? So I’ll get a little teach time in there of, of explaining how to approach questions or hens or sins or naysayers or whatever. But the, the point is that we need to talk. We need to emphasize it somehow, not the whole message. Don’t do a six weeks course that you only do once every five years, then you miss everybody keep this as part of the life of the church. Otherwise the evangelism will, will, will die back down to nothing.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (19:23):
And so, and, and we need evangelists coming through to remind us, there’s a special thing that when evangelist says it, they just fire people up about it. And so we need the evangelist gift in the local church, which I think is a, is a missing element of many churches because we’re thinking, oh, evangelists get people saved. And I know that in my congregation, there’s not so many people and I can give an altar call myself, why do I need the evangelist? You need the evangelist because Jesus said you needed the evangelist and he needs to come through your church to motivate people and remind people of the great commission. So pastors do have some responsibility here and I’d say one more thing to pastors. If pastors, aren’t also being a witness every day, everywhere they go, how are their people gonna follow that? If the pastor’s into music, the people are into music.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (20:08):
If the pastor’s into, you know, Bible study, the people are in the Bible study. If the pastor’s a big prayer, the people are prayers. If the pastor’s a real witness for Jesus, the people will start following the pastor ought to have a story. Every once in a while, one preacher long ago said that if pastors would start winning souls every week, they wouldn’t have to have a book of illustrations every Sunday <laugh> to prepare their message. And so this has to become reality that leading others to Jesus is what Christians do. We are fishers of men. All of us are fishers of men. And the fact is most Christians aren’t fishing very much. Maybe once a year, they’ll find the perfect opportunity to fish and that’s not acceptable. So pastors have to get some of these things ironed out so that we don’t let people become the dead sea.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (20:56):
You can’t just keep, keep pouring into people if they can’t give it out. So, you know, if you don’t have any exit rivers, you just get stale. And so many Christians are unhappy. We found the happiest. Christians are the soul winners we found the most faithful are the soul winners. And that’s what makes it all go around. I think that’s the most exciting thing about it all is that we were all in the same thing together, which is impacting the world for Jesus. One of our visions at the church is that every believer has a vision for worldwide evangelism and personal evangelism. So I’m not negating worldwide evangelism and missions and big crusades and stuff like that. But I also want people to have a personal vision for evangelism. What can I do? And everybody, every single Christian can do this stuff, but we talk about it.
Pastor Chas Stevenson (21:48):
So we get ’em testifying. We have a sole goal of individual witnessing and that’s where we find the biggest success. So we, we see church members slowly but surely over six months, sometimes a year after about a six month period, many people come up to me and say, I finally said something. I said, God bless you at work. And then another six months goes by. And they said, I finally gave a track down. And a little bit later, they said, I finally led someone to Jesus and I couldn’t believe it. It was so easy. I just shared my heart and I cared about ’em and they wanted to receive Jesus. Right? And so it takes time and we don’t pressure people or make people feel guilty or act like they have to go knock on doors or go to the streets. Even though we do have outreaches, we don’t act like that’s the only thing we do. The main thing we do is everybody’s a witness tomorrow after church. I can’t go where you go. So you have to, you have to take care of all the people where you’re at. So that’s the key is giving ’em a vision and a purpose for, for lifestyle evangelism, wherever you are.